Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Monsters' Monster by Patrick McDonnell - great monster fun with a twist (ages 4 - 8)

Do you have any little monsters in your house? They could be kids who love pretending to stomp and gnash and growl. Or they could be little terrors who fight and kick and scream. I love Patrick McDonnell's new book, The Monsters' Monster, for the way it takes both of these types of monsters, and then throws in a twist! This fun picture book will make kids laugh, think and want to read it again and again - what a perfect combination.
The Monsters' Monster
by Patrick McDonnell
NY: Little, Brown Books, 2012
ages 4 - 8
available on Amazon or your local library
enhanced ebook available at the iTunes & Nook stores
Once upon a time, there were three little monsters who thought they were the toughest, grouchiest, loudest monsters around. In fact, they spent all their time trying to out-monster each other.

One day, these trouble makers decide to build a MONSTER monster of their own: “the biggest, baddest monster EVER!” But they are in for a surprise. It turns out he isn’t exactly the monster that the little guys were expecting. Instead, their big, giant monster is happy. He giggles. He hugs them (with a crushing monster squeeze). And he isn’t grouchy at all. In fact, he’s thankful. The little monsters who created him are indeed perplexed by this, even stunned into speechless quiet.

Patrick McDonnell’s artwork combines the humor of cartoon figures with watercolor and ink backgrounds, skillfully creating the tone of the story. The ending will bring smiles and contented sighs to adults and children alike, as the monsters realize they all are thankful for their new friend.

Little, Brown has also released this as an enhanced ebook on the iTunes Book store and Nook Kids Read and Play store. These enhanced ebooks combine audio narration with the picture book, along with some basic, limited interactions. Kids in my library have loved listening to the pitch-perfect narrator for The Monsters' Monster. They were a little unsure when to tap images and when to just read and listen. But the more limited interactivity kept the focus squarely on enjoying the story. It's definitely one they gave two thumbs up (and plenty of laughs - even from 8 year old boys).

So if you're looking for a Halloween book, or something to bring a smile and a quiet moment to your own monster, definitely give this a try. Take a look at these other delightful reviews and a fascinating interview:
  • Tasha at Waking Brain Cells says, "McDonnell’s writing is perfect for reading aloud, setting the right pace and tone to make it a wild rumpus of a read."
  • Over on Goodreads, my friend Alyson Beecher writes, "We could all use some reminders of the need for simple gratitude. Done with humor but really sweet."
  • Pamela Paul writes in the New York Times, "Alas, as Victor Frankenstein found out long ago, monsters rarely conform to their creators’ intentions. In this case, there’s nothing scary about him. He’s actually quite endearing."
  • Jenny Brown's interview with Patrick McDonnell over at the Kirkus Reviews blog. McDonnell tells us that as he started to work on this story and think about the three little monsters, "I began to think: 'What makes a monster a monster?' The answer I came up with was—his thoughts."
All images shared above are copyright ©Patrick McDonnell, 2012 shared with permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. Great review. My girls and I loved this book. Loved the alliteration, the grouchy silly monsters, and the of course of the message.