Although there are many stories about the perils and rewards of a monster’s turning nice, this one goes a little further, touching upon being rejected by peers, being bullied and eventually being at ease with who one is.
Supposedly each letter in the word “monster” stands for a valuable character trait that all these creatures share: M is for mean, O is for Observant, N is for Noisy, S is for Super Strong, T is for Tough-to-Please, E is for Envious and R is for Remarkable. Sadly, the lime green, rectangular protagonist loses his “M” and his ability to be truly mean. Now he is “just The Onster.” Without his “mean,” he becomes the target of teasing and feels embarrassed when he is caught by the monster pack doing good deeds and fitting in with the more kindhearted and accepting young humans. Even when he purposely tries to do something bad, such as pulling “the flowers out of Mrs. Power’s yard,” he “just can’t bear to harm them, so he waters them instead.” The rhyming text proceeds at a steady clip, and Edmunds digitally renders scenes that aptly depict the monster’s back-and-forth feelings about becoming a nonthreatening, thoughtful and friendly Onster.
Readers will chime in with the “hip, hip hooray” this cuddly-looking creature earns when he finally embraces and celebrates his differences. (Picture book. 4-7)