Archives for posts with tag: monsters

9781935954231I discussed Mies van Hout’s Happy not long ago and am delighted that she has a second book now available in the US, entitled Friends (Lemniscaat, $17.95). This book utilizes a similar structure as Happy; the double-page spreads feature an illustration of two monsters and one word of text. The oil pastels on black paper once again create vibrant and engaging illustrations. The words in the text identify different aspects of friendship and there is an overarching narrative, which starts with “play” moves quickly to “bore” and then all the problems that can sometimes arise in friendships: tease, fight, cry. The monsters soon start to recognize the error of their ways and experience embarrassment and hope, eventually leading back to laugh, trust, and finally cuddle. Despite the seeming simplicity of the one-word text, the subtleties of this narrative might be beyond a younger child, although they will probably appreciate the fun illustrations. I would recommend this book for ages 4-6, when kids really start experiencing the highs and lows of friendship. You might even want to read it with middle-school kids, when they feel like they’ve been abandoned and need to remember that true friends come back.

While I stand by my lack of good Halloween books comment, there are some great related picture books and certainly numerous fall themed books about monsters, bats, owls, leaves, hibernation, and migration. Patrick McDonnell’s The Monster’s Monster (Little, Brown, $16.99) contains the requisite destructive imps: Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom, but they set out to build a monster that is the ‘biggest and the baddest’ of them all. Their new monster — reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein’s creation, but far cuter, sweeter, and prone to saying ‘thank you’ — surprises them with his own agenda. The message in this book is subtle enough that it doesn’t overshadow the humor of the illustrations. Even though The Monster’s Monster not technically a Halloween story, it’s still a great book find your own little imp to cuddle up and read with at this time of year. 


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