An unusual gallery of new and old monsters, kaiju, cryptids, creatures, and pop-culture creations.

MONSTERS

A MAGIC LENS HUNT FOR CREATURES OF MYTH, LEGEND, FAIRY TALE, AND FICTION

Monsters from many lands, cultures, and media are revealed by peering through a red cellophane spyglass.

Placed in cartoon landscapes or other settings and hiding behind red grids that vanish when viewed through the colored lens, the monstrous lineup features the likes of a troll, Dracula, and the Big Bad Wolf but also goes far beyond such usual suspects to include Gollum, Voldemort, Jabba the Hutt, Edward Scissorhands, Cthulhu, the ghost of Anne Boleyn, and Martians—not from The War of the Worlds but the ones with exploding heads from Mars Attacks! Reflecting the distinctly Eurocentric (not to say Gallic) slant to the selections, at least eight are or are billed as French while only one, Mokele-Mbembe, represents African traditions, and there are no Native American boojums. Also, some entrants, such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Hypsignathus (a big but real bat), and the Dahu, a goatlike creature of French folklore that has short legs on one side for walking on slopes, seem like outliers. Whether they are bad actors or not, Ledesma draws them all in such a scrawly, naïve style that they would be hard to recognize without the prompts that Potard supplies (“JAWS: This giant shark has razor-sharp teeth,” and “you can tell he’s coming by the scary music”) along the bottom edges. For young fans who want to make their own monsters and/or spyglass, an array of reproducible body parts for the former and simple directions for the latter bring up the rear.

An unusual gallery of new and old monsters, kaiju, cryptids, creatures, and pop-culture creations. (Informational novelty. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9999680-6-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone.

HOW I MET MY MONSTER

From the I Need My Monster series

In a tardy prequel to I Need My Monster (2009), candidates for that coveted spot under the bed audition.

As the distressingly unflappable young narrator looks on, one monster after another gives it a go—but even with three mouths, the best roar Genghis can manage is a puny “blurp!”, silly shadow puppets by shaggy Morgan elicit only a sneeze, and red Abigail’s attempt to startle by hiding in the fridge merely leaves her shivering and pathetic. Fortunately, there’s Gabe, who knows just how to turn big and hairy while lurking outside the bathroom and whose red-eyed stare and gross drooling sends the lad scrambling into bed to save his toes. “Kid, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” the toothy terror growls. Right he is, the lad concludes, snuggling down beneath the covers: “His snorts and ooze were perfect.” As usual, the white-presenting child’s big, bright, smiling face and the assortment of bumbling monsters rendered in oversaturated hues keep any actual scariness at tentacle’s length. Moreover, Monster, Inc. fans will delight in McWilliam’s painstaking details of fang, claw, hair, and scales.

Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947277-09-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Kid-friendly dark humor.

POULTRYGEIST

The chicken crosses the road…and arrives on the other side as a ghost.

The action kicks off before the title page when the chicken crossing the road winds up a splatter of feathers against the grille of a tractor trailer. When its ghost rises from the squished remains, it meets a host of other animal ghosts that encourage the new poultrygeist to start getting scary. They probably didn’t realize, however, that they’d be the ones to be frightened. Geron’s text is full of punny lines like “It’s time to get foul, fowl!” and “Ghosts of a feather haunt together!” Midway through, the poultrygeist turns to readers to make sure they’re not too scared. This is a nice touch, maintaining engagement while also giving more timid readers time to take a beat. Oswald’s illustrations display masterful use of color, with bright, ghostly animals against a dark, often all-black background, the dialogue shown in colors that correspond to the speakers. These ghosts do become scary but not enough to completely terrorize readers. Oswald’s skill is seen in full effect, as readers witness only the animal ghosts’ reactions to the poultrygeist’s scariest face, building suspense for the full reveal. This book is just right for kids easing into the slightly scary and macabre but who still want a safe and fun read.

Kid-friendly dark humor. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1050-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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