Monday, September 24, 2012

The Monsters' Monster

I enjoy a good holiday book.  Polar Express, Room on the Broom. When children's enthusiasm is brimming over it is so fun to pull out a book centered on their excitement.  This is not that book.  It's even better because it is not a holiday book - it is a book that can be enjoyed year round.  But it is about monsters.  And who doesn't love to read about Monsters at Halloween?

Patrick McDonnell's The Monsters' Monster is a charming tale of three monsters  - Tiny Grouch, Grump and Gloom 'n' Doom.  The three monsters argue over who is the best and scariest monster but when they can't come to a conclusion they combine forces to create "the biggest, baddest  monster EVER!"  The monster they create is reminiscent of Frankenstein - he is enormous with a square green head complete with pins sticking out. He is a big monster but not the scary monster they hoped for.  He is polite, and nice, and his catch phrase is "Dank you!"

In McDonnell's signature cartoon style it is fun to see the relationship between the three small, but big, bad loving monsters and the imposing, yet kind, Frankenstein-esque monster.  This is a read you don't want to miss, especially with Halloween knocking on our door.


I just got my hands on the e-book version of The Monsters' Monster.  I would definitely say that I am still a paper and ink kind of girl.  But I have to admit there are some perks to the portability of the e-book.  And my kids love to get their hands on an ipad.  The e-version of The Monsters' Monster is the same great tale and illustrations with the addition of simple enhancements and movements that correlate with the text.  They are not over the top and do not take away from the book.  But probably my (and my kids) favorite part of the e-book was the read aloud option - it was animated and brought the story off the screen and to life.

I received a review copy of this book, but all opinions are my own.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

I picked up Mo Willems' latest book, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, in a bookstore the other day and was laughing out loud while I read it.  It is so clever. The pictures are done in typical Willems' style and the humor does not disappoint.

It is a take on the traditional tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but instead of bears we have dinosaurs.  And instead of porridge, chocolate pudding.  The dinosaurs are not simply innocent victims of a home invader, they are very aware of Goldilocks and try to lure her in.  And Goldilocks is much more aware in this version.  But more than anything Willems infuses the tale with irony and humor - the reader is "in the know" and can't help but smile as the story unfolds.

This is clearly another winner for Mo Willems.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bear in Love

My son is turning five on Saturday.  So last night I drove to my favorite local bookstore, pulled books off the shelf and found a corner to sit in.  One of the books that I really enjoyed was Daniel Pinkwater's Bear in Love - illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. The story was charming.

Bear finds a carrot sitting on a rock, picks it up and eats it.  The next day, he finds two and the next three.  Each day he is so excited about the carrots that he sings a song and wonders about who has left him these carrots.  One day, while enjoying honey, Bear decides that he will leave something on the rock for his carrot-leaving friend.  Bear tries hard to stay awake at night to see who his friend is but never makes it.  He and his friend then proceed to search out the "best" treats possible for each other.

The friendship between Bear and his mystery friend is so charming.  Young readers will turn each page in excited anticipation - waiting right alongside Bear to discover the identity of Bear's friend. The illustrations match the tone of the story and are key to making the story so enjoyable.  The backgrounds are minimal with light pastel colors drawing the reader to the brighter and larger illustration at the forefront - typically Bear with something for, or from, his friend.  This style of illustration focuses in on the core of the story - Bear and his friendship.

This book had me smiling from beginning to end.