A giggly geography lesson for trip planners and daydreamers.

TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS

Buckle up and get ready for a rollicking road trip with merry monsters.

This cast of joyful monsters in bright colors with myriad different sizes, shapes, facial features, and appendages is guaranteed to make young readers giggle. In this tour of urban and nature-based tourist attractions, the rhyming west-to-east journey connects U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Hollywood, Nashville, Orlando, and the nation’s capital, with national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Everglades, and the Cape Cod National Seashore (with one generic amusement park tossed in for good measure). Most destinations merit a double-page spread with scrapbook border and the state name emblazoned across a federal highway marker. Lively illustrations capture a monster’s mischief at every stop. The San Francisco cable car turns one monster slightly green with nausea. Another grinning monster mugs for the camera as the fifth face on Mount Rushmore while a third gets its “15 seconds’ fame” compliments of Wrigley Field’s Kiss Cam. Decked out in sunglasses and floral swim trunks, a daring monster boogie boards over Niagara Fall. But who knew another would get dizzy atop Lady Liberty? In a quiet feminist statement, readers are admonished that “should you meet the president, / assure her he [the monster] won’t bite.” Background illustrations show tourists with a range of skin tones and ages, and the aforementioned president is white.

A giggly geography lesson for trip planners and daydreamers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-53411-037-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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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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