Yet another outing that will have readers empathizing with and maybe emulating Love Monster.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE SCARY SOMETHING

From the Love Monster series

The lovable red monster is back, this time facing something all young children will find familiar: nighttime noise fears.

Even though it’s “past bedtime o’clock” in Cutesville and Love Monster has gone through his bedtime routine, he’s still awake, and the harder he tries to sleep, “the later and darker and spookier it got.” (His clock marvelously marks off, at 12, 3, 6, and 9 respectively, “Bedtime,” “Late,” “Dark,” and “Spooky.”) He can hear the clock ticking, the wind in the leaves, the owls. But what’s that rustle? It seems to move from the yard to downstairs, and the bang certainly means that it has gotten inside! Now he can hear its “terrible, twisterly toenails” on the floor, then coming up the stairs. Love Monster just can’t take it anymore. “Somehow, hiding from THE SOMETHING outside…got harder than finding something brave INSIDE.” A fling of the covers and a flick of the flashlight reveal another Cutesville resident who couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to be alone. Snuggles, conquering fears, and, finally, sleep bring the night to a close. Bright’s text and her illustrations perfectly capture the terrifying, compounding fear of being alone at night, hearing an unfamiliar noise, and jumping to wild conclusions. The mostly full-page spreads play up Love Monster’s fears and feelings, and Bright uses light and darkness to good effect.

Yet another outing that will have readers empathizing with and maybe emulating Love Monster. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-34691-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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