This week is a children’s surprise since I found some great ones at the store this past week.
The Runaway Mummy by Michael Rex
A little mummy transforms into a series of incredible monsters in order to run away and assert his independence. His mother keeps coming to “get” him, but this little mummy has a mind of his own. Filled with uproarious illustrations, another beloved classic gets a kind-hearted send-up in this utterly monsterized parody. Ener getic art and a hilarious text will have kids begging to read this again and again.
I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll, Howard McWilliam (Illustrator)
A unique monster-under-the-bed story with the perfect balance of giggles and shivers, this picture book relies on the power of humor over fear, appeals to a child’s love for creatures both alarming and absurd, and glorifies the scope of a child’s imagination. One night, when Ethan checks under his bed for his monster, Gabe, he finds a note from him instead: “Gone fishing. Back in a week.” Ethan knows that without Gabe’s familiar nightly scares he doesn’t stand a chance of getting to sleep, so Ethan interviews potential substitutes to see if they’ve got the right equipment for the job—pointy teeth, sharp claws, and a long tail—but none of them proves scary enough for Ethan. When Gabe returns sooner than expected from his fishing trip, Ethan is thrilled. It turns out that Gabe didn’t enjoy fishing because the fish scared too easily.
Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex
This hilarious collection of illustrated poems describes the lives of well-known monsters. Theres Frankenstein, who tries to borrow food from townsfolk, but is instead pelted with garbage: Its true, at first/he thought the worst:/His neighbors were so rude!/But then he found/that on the ground/theyd made a mound of food. The accompanying illustration shows the pickle-green brute happily eyeing a towering sandwich made from discarded edibles. In several comical appearances, the Phantom of the Opera bemoans the fact that he can no longer compose arias because he cant get catchy tunes out of his head (Its a small world after all./Angry cursing fills the hall./Now hes crawling up the wall./Its a small, small world). He eventually considers an alternate career. The Creature from the Black Lagoon ignores his mothers advice, swims too soon after eating, and sinks; Count Dracula walks around with spinach in his teeth because no one dares tell him about it. Told with smooth, unstrained rhymes, each selection captures its subjects voice. Rex uses an impressive variety of techniques and media in the artwork while paying homage to famed illustrators. From shiny black-and-white graphics in Zombie Zombie, to a Richard Scarry-esque interpretation of the Yeti, to pen-and-ink sketches of Dr. Jekyll, each creature claims its own style. The book is fresh, creative, and funny, with just enough gory detail to cause a few gasps. Kids will eat it up. – Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI