By the last page, Blinsh feels like the real happiest place on Earth.

VAMPIRES OF BLINSH

The vampires of Blinsh may be the most hopeful monsters in all of literature.

Pretty much everyone in Blinsh, Pinksylvania, eats doughnuts, including the creatures of the night. This is true even though they come in flavors like “boiled turnip and sauerkraut.” And yet, Pinkwater notes, “the Blinshites keep buying them and eating them, hoping it will be better this time. It never is.” Nevertheless, the vampires in this picture book are cheerful in general, possibly because they can float in the air, although, as the text points out: “Numerous normal-type Pinksylvanians have learned to do this for short periods, perhaps from vampire neighbors?” This is one of the more eventful passages in the book. If there’s a plot, it may escape the average reader. The book is mostly a travel guide to Blinsh and its environs, but the pages are utterly packed with detail. It might not be possible to get all of the in-jokes. A map of the town shows “Wallywood Amusement Park,” which could be a reference to a cartoonist, the filmmaking capitol of the United States, or even Dollywood (probably not Dollywood). If there is a protagonist, it’s Mr. Papooshnik, who bears a resemblance to the White, Jewish author of the book; the town as a whole is quite diverse. Fans of cult artists may be pleased that the pictures look, faintly, like the gigantic, cartoonish sculptures of Red Grooms. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 66.7% of actual size.)

By the last page, Blinsh feels like the real happiest place on Earth. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4681-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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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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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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