Fiendish monsters—and everyone else—rejoice! (Picture book. 3-7)

QUIT CALLING ME A MONSTER!

A grand return to a world of endearing monsters from the duo behind I Will Chomp You! (2015).

Readers meet an immaculately dressed, wildly hairy monster who has more than its share of woes. “Quit calling me a monster! Just…stop it, right this minute!” John once again employs direct address to let the monster air its grievances. At first, the scraggly protagonist attempts to prove to readers that it's not so monstrous. Sure, it does have all the trademarks of a monster, with its “huge, toothy smile that glows in the dark” and “crazy hair” and “wild eyes.” However, looks can deceive. As the monster gradually rallies against stereotypes and directs its ire toward readers, the book plumbs even greater depths of humor. “It’s not like I ever call you names, do I?” Shea’s colorful, expressive illustrations enhance the theatrical antics of the monster through the twitch of a grin or eye, making the monster seem as approachable as it is cranky. Still, the good old monster can’t seem to shake the label. After admitting that, OK, it is a monster, it instead opts for a different approach, introducing itself to readers. “My name is Floyd. Floyd Peterson.” After all, Floyd Peterson sounds like someone no one would mind meeting.

Fiendish monsters—and everyone else—rejoice! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-38990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Treat little ones to this sweet, entertaining holiday story.

IT'S HALLOWEEN, LITTLE MONSTER

From the Little Monsters series

It can be a spooky thrill to go trick-or-treating for the first time.

Little Monster is excited to experience this Halloween rite of passage; the green Martian costume fits perfectly. Yet, as Little Monster and Papa venture out, the young one is leery. Scary things are all around: a pirate, witch, and ghost. On Little Monster’s street, it’s less the costumes than the wearers that look strange, given that residents are monsters themselves, albeit cute, smiling ones with big eyes. As they walk about, Little Monster begins to feel braver with Papa’s help. The pair’s final stop—a scary house with a graveyard for a front lawn—ushers in a surprise ending. This cute addition to the holiday shelf is by the creators of Go to School, Little Monster (2015) and the third in the Little Monster series. Told in rollicking rhymes, the story delivers humorous, not-too-scary chills for the youngest readers. The portrayal of a warm, patient relationship between child and father is welcome, as is the sight of a parent accompanying a child on nighttime trick-or-treating rounds, not universally presented in Halloween books. The delightful, expressive, atmospheric illustrations depict adorable, multicolored monsters—it’s definitely a diverse neighborhood. Winsome, lavender Little Monster, befanged, wide-eyed, noseless, and bearing a spearlike tail, subs for kids who anticipate and feel wary on their own first Halloween forays. Papa is blue and also has large eyes, fangs, a tail, and no nose.

Treat little ones to this sweet, entertaining holiday story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9208-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Not necessarily just for Halloween; readers can appreciate it any time.

SHE WANTED TO BE HAUNTED

Which cottage would stand out more in a real estate ad: cute or…haunted?

Clarissa the sentient cottage dislikes cuteness; as a pink, adorable haven for flowers and squirrels, she’s bored. She yearns to be scary and haunted like her father, a gloomy castle, and her mother, a smelly, vermin-infested witch’s hut. Dad gladly donates clouds but tells Clarissa it’s OK to be herself. The clouds are a bust because they bring rain, which brings forth…a rainbow, plants, and birds. Mom supplies a reeking bottle whose contents allegedly repel living things. Clarissa opens it but…attracts playful dogs. Finally abandoning her desire for a ghostly boarder, Clarissa invites her animals to remain. At the end, a particular creature’s unexpected arrival—and its most uncharacteristic behavior—reveal Clarissa’s true nature: horrible and cute. And she’s just fine with that. This rhyming story is certainly an unusual take on the finding-oneself trope. The bouncy verses mostly read and scan well, include sophisticated vocabulary, and provide Clarissa with a spunky, appealing personality. Different typefaces represent the voices of Clarissa, each parent, and the narrator. The cheerful, lively illustrations are very colorful but a trifle twee; Clarissa and her parents are differentiated through vivid pinks, dreary shades, and anthropomorphic faces. Nature blossoms via bright depictions of flowers, trees, animals, and birds.

Not necessarily just for Halloween; readers can appreciate it any time. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68119-791-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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