What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that these monsters act, well, monstrously. So expect some mention of blood-sucking, some scary-looking zombies, and bad behavior on the part of Godzilla (who poops on someone's car). The detailed pictures are true to their subjects, and some kids might find them too scary. Because the tone is light and funny, other kids will find them silly fun.
What's the story?
Rhyming monster vignettes are more funny than scary.
Is it any good?
It's tempting to make this book all about the spectacular pictures since author/illustrator Adam Rex's talent and range are prodigious. The gross-out factor isn't excessive but it's present. Not only is there a glimpse of Godzilla poop (unhappily deposited on the dismayed poet's Honda), but the monsters are wart-ridden and have bulging eyes, and a few fangs drip saliva.
Happily the poems live up to their illustrations. Rex understands the minds of average kids (at least those who aren't scared by the detailed monster drawings) and his monster tales take inspiration from their original stories. Take the poor beleaguered Phantom of the Opera, who can't get "It's a Small World" out of his head, or Dracula Jr., who is terrified by a trip to the dentist. The vocabulary level is high -- this isn't a dumbed-down parody -- and Rex doesn't stretch unreasonably far for his rhymes. As rhyming books tend to be, it's an especially fun read-aloud -- for parents, too.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how humor can take the edge off something scary. Kids familiar with the monsters' backgrounds can note the way their traditional histories are turned upside-down for the poems (like the way Frankenstein gets around the torch-wielding villagers).