Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, picture books

Everyone wants to read The Book No One Wants to Read!

The Book No One Wants to Read, by Beth Bacon, (June 2021, Harper Collins Children’s Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9780062962546

Ages 6-10

A colorful book like this is a perfect attention-grabber to kids who think reading is boring: the book even addresses it! In the vein of books like BJ Novak’s The Book With No Pictures (2014), this book is an hilarious discourse between book and reader. The book doesn’t want to be facing the wall, all alone, and the reader obviously has to look busy, so the book makes an offer it’s impossible to refuse: “You keep turning my pages, and I’ll make it fun!” It’s interactive, inviting readers to squint, sniff, and play rock, paper, scissors. At 180 pages, it may be a bit long for a storytime (but I’m still going to try it), but it’s a perfect book for early chapter book readers that want to enjoy a fun read. Display with its companion book, I Hate Reading, for more laughs. Think of it as more of an interactive game than a reading chore, reluctant readers! It’s bright, colorful, and so much fun.  Instabuy!

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Humor

The Pruwahaha Monster gives kids a little jump!

pruwahahahaThe Pruwahaha Monster, by Jean-Paul Mulders/Illustrated by Jacques Maes, Lise Braekers (Oct. 2016, Kids Can Press), $15.95, ISBN: 9781771385664

Recommended for ages 5-8

A cute story about a boy and his dad outside enjoying the autumn, The Pruwahaha Monster is a story the father tells his son while the son plays on a swing. It may be a bit high-concept for younger readers – it took me a couple of reads to put it all together – so I’d suggest reading it to school-age (Kindergarten-Grade 2) kids, rather than toddlers or preschoolers.

A dad tells his son a story about the Pruwahaha Monster – a stinky, ugly, terrible monster with a taste for children – but when the monster tracks down a little boy, all he does is laugh! The last picture in the story tells you everything you need to know about the monster and his relationship with the boy.

Originally published in Belgium, this is a sweet story about a father and son, and the joy of storytelling: especially spooky storytelling! A fun additional add to collections where kids are ready for a scary story that ends up being very safe, after all. Teach the kids how to make shadow puppets on a wall when you’re done, and let them make their own monsters!

There’s a lot of visual interest here, with bright orange artwork drawing the reader’s attention to woodland animals and leaves. Spooky monster paws fade into and out of existence. There are beautiful spreads and pages of work against light blue, bright orange, and beige backgrounds. There are so many little elements to look at and notice in each spread – you’ll find something new every time.

Jean-Paul Mulders is a Flemish journalist and writer, and the author of several books for adults; The Pruwahaha Monster is his first book for children.Jacques Maes & Lise Braekers are a graphic design, web design and illustration duo from Belgium. The Pruwahaha Monster is their first book for children.
Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Humor, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Support Monster Journalism! Check out The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo!

margo_1The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo, by Drew Weing, (Sept. 2016, First Second), $15.99, ISBN: 9781626723399

Recommended for ages 8+

Charles F. Thompson just moved to Echo City with his family. He’s not thrilled, especially with their new digs: a creepy building his dad will be refinishing as the family lives there. Charles – an avid blogger – swears there’s a monster in his room, and he’s not wrong. Some of his toys go missing, and he knows he didn’t just misplace them. Charles is seriously freaked out: what if the monster tries to eat him?! A neighbor quietly slips him Margo Maloo’s number, and Charles’ whole world changes: Margo is a monster mediator. The monsters all know her; she knows all the monsters. She helps smooth relations between Charles and Marcus, the troll that lives in his building. Turns out Marcus is really upset that these awful humans are moving in and messing with his stuff! Once Margo sorts things out, and Charles has been exposed to this new world right under his nose, he’s hooked – freedom of the press demands that he write about this! Margo firmly puts the kibosh on Drew’s reporting, but lets him tag along on her missions. The Echo City monsters aren’t thrilled with Charles, but who knows? Maybe they’ll see Charles’ value as Margo’s assistant. After all, he and Marcus bonded over Battlebeanz toys!

Think of Charles as a kids’ Night Stalker, led by a hard-boiled, female, juvenile Philip Marlowe: She’s on a just a first-name basis with all the monsters in her town, and operates in the shadows, confidently keeping a balance between the monster world and ours. Charles is hilarious, whether he’s complaining about exotic new take-out or proclaiming that “information wants to be free!” (the librarian in me was so happy with that panel); Margo is the picture of cool and sassy, navigating both worlds with a self-assuredness most kids could only dream of, and the monsters themselves are very human: they worry about humans discovering them; they collect toys and knickknacks, and parents worry about their kids walking off when a stranger offers them candy, too. The cartoony art will appeal to kids without scaring them (or maybe, just give ’em a little frightened giggle).

There are three stories in this first volume, to start you off on the world of Margo Maloo. There are also pages from Charles’ notebook, with sketches and information about ghosts, goblins, ogres and trolls, the monsters he encounters in these first tales. If you want more Margo and can’t wait for the next volume, you don’t have to! Margo began life as a webcomic that’s still running, updating on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can check it out at http://www.drewweing.com/, and while you’re at it, discover a few more comics on the site.

The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo is a fun addition to graphic novel collections, perfect for kids who are in Goosebumps mode and want something witty,  a little spooky, and a lot of fun.  margo_7

Posted in Humor, Preschool Reads

Where do dads go when they’re lost? The Bureau of Misplaced Dads!

misplaced dadsThe Bureau of Misplaced Dads, by Éric Veillé/Illus. by Pauline Martin (Aug. 2015, Kids Can Press), $16.95, ISBN: 9781771382380

Recommended for ages 4-8

A young boy misplaces his dad one morning, and heads over to the Bureau of Misplaced Dads to see if he ended up there. Dads show up there every day, many of whom are reclaimed the same day, some who have waited a while, and some who get released into the wild. There are dads of all shapes and sizes, with all sort of quirks and talents, but is the boy’s dad there? And does he want a replacement dad if he’s not?

This is a cute story that will go over well in a storytime, as kids get to see all kinds of dads: strongman dads, dads named Michael, dancing dads, and clueless dads, for starters. The very idea of misplacing one’s dad will be familiar to any child whose parents have “gotten lost”, whether in a department store or in the same home.

The retro, digital artwork is entertaining and lively, with bright colors, exaggerated mustaches, and crazy costumes; various dads strike wacky poses as the little boy looks on, searching for the perfect dad: his.

The book is light and played for laughs, and would also make for a fun cuddle time story at bedtime for Dad and kids. I’m going to add this to a storytime and have the kids draw a picture of their dad on a milk carton template.

 

 

Posted in Toddler Reads

Book Review: Who Hops, by Katie Davis (Harcourt, 2001)

who hopsRecommended for ages 0-4

Who Hops takes a funny look at animals who hop, swim, fly or crawl – and which animals do not.  Asking the opening question, “Who hops?”, the book teaches children about the animal world. We learn that frogs hop, as do rabbits, kangaroos and cows – wait, cows? Even the cow appears distressed! The author quickly corrects herself, noting that “Cows moo and give milk, but they don’t hop!”

The questions continue, asking who flies, who slithers, who swims and who crawls, with similar groupings of animals that do and one animal that doesn’t, with hilarious responses. The exaggerated facial expressions on the odd animals out are laugh-out-loud funny, and the day-glo artwork, outlined in bold black outlines, assures that all readers will be able to see and enjoy the book. The artwork is simple – line drawings, filled in with fluorescent colors – and the text is in bold, black font.

The book is a good companion to Jan Thomas’ What Will Fat Cat Sit On? and can be read as part of a silly animal read-aloud. Readers can participate by calling out when the story reaches the animal that doesn’t hop, fly, slither, swim or crawl. The author’s website features a printable matching game, where readers can match the animal to his activity. There are also songs and fingerplays about animals and how they move that would make for a fun read-aloud.

The book has received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, National Parenting Publications Honors, and designation as a Book Sense 76 Pick.