by Michael Rex
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018
The illustrations and words in Eat Pete! dance together beautifully as readers follow a suspenseful path. We open with a monster with a one-track mind to “Eat Pete!” When Pete meets the monster, he offers to play cars with him. The monster really wants to eat Pete, but decides to play car because he never has before. The moment they are done with cars, Pete suggests they play pirates. The monster had never played pirates before and agrees, though he’d much rather eat Pete. Pete stays one step ahead of the monster, until the monster does eat Pete! The clever twist is that the monster is bored and spits Pete up, until he decides to…. You’ll have to read the surprise ending in this classic suspense.
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The Want Monsters and How They Stopped Ruling My World
by Chelo Manchego
Shambhala Publications, Inc, 2017
I usually shy away from stories with obvious ‘lessons’ in them, but this one kept me turning the pages to see how it ended. Partially the words, and I think, partially the unusual drawings.
We begin with an odd-looking boy providing a brief introduction to Want Monsters and how much trouble they can cause. Then we meet Oskar, the boy’s Want Monster. When the boy eats one cupcake, Oskar makes the boy eat four more, and the boy gets sick. Oskar wears a crown all the time to get attention. The boy doesn’t like all of Oskar’s antics. A caterpillar shares a few words of wisdom and the boy decides to “keep minding my day” until Oskar’s demands go away. Each time the boy keeps minding his own day, even when the Want Monster throws a tantrum. Eventually, the Want Monster begins to get smaller. The boy redirects Oskar’s attention to wanting ‘kindness’ and ‘sharing’. Eventually the boy loves his tiny Want Monster and the Want Monster loves him back.
Illustrated in simple, child-like drawings with lots of color, the pages take the reader into the boy’s world where he grows wiser and stronger.
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The Monster Next Door
By David Soman
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016
A boy builds a tree house in a great field and a monster builds a tree house nearby. They play well together until the monster’s tuba playing is louder than the boys flute playing. When the boy asks him to stop, the monster continues to play. They call each other names, have a water balloon fight and become enemies. The boy writes a note, “Not Friends” and goes to the monster’s house to deliver it, when he notices things. You’ll have to read the story to find out what he learns and how the two become friends again.
Watercolor, charcoal and colored pencils offer spacious drawings, allowing plenty of space in which to dream. The music is expressed with splashes of color that fill the page and excite the eyes.
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