For Halloween today, I bring you a book about monsters, The Monster's Monster by Patrick McDonnell. It's not a scary book, but it is a fun celebration of (and then completely shifting the viewpoint of) monsters.
Here's the opening:
"Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom 'n' Doom thought they were monsters."
The next few pages demonstrate how very monster-like these small, charmingly ugly creatures are. They throw rocks, they have temper tantrums, they fight. And one day, to settle an ongoing argument about who is "the biggest, baddest monster," they decide to make an enormous monster (shades of Frankenstein's monster). But the creature that they create doesn't act at all the way they expect. In fact, he doesn't act like a monster at all. He acts like someone who is grateful to be alive. And he changes Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom 'n' Doom's perspective.
Ironically, for a book about monsters, the end of this book was a little too sweet / message-y for me. The little monsters learn to say thank you, and smile, and appreciate the sunrise. Which is nice, but ... more heavy-handed than I personally prefer in picture books.
But I was won over by McDonnell's illustrations. The little monsters are hilarious. The big monster is surprisingly huggable. The page in which Monster throws out his hands, "thankful to be ALIVE", against a color-splashed background, is uplifting. The pink-tinged beach scenes at the end of the book are enough to make anyone feel calm, and grateful that there are beaches.
I also do think that this would be a fun read-aloud, though I haven't tried it yet. There's lots of "SMASH, CRASH, and BASH" and "ROAR" type text. The monster has a delightfully nasal pronunciation ("Dank you!"). And there are phrases like "gunk, gauze, and gobs of goo."
Bottom line: if you are looking for a monster-themed book for Halloween that is actually rather sweet, The Monster's Monster is well worth a look. Patrick McDonnell is a Caldecott Honor and Cybils winner for last year's Me...Jane, and his talent as an illustrator shows here, too.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (@LBKids)
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).