Ever felt like a Crankenstein?

I made clear in my last post that I really don’t like the gory aspects of Halloween and am not too keen on monsters.  I gotta say there are some really fun and clever monster picture books out there, however. I’ve said before how in awe I am of those who come up with such creative and inspiring books for children. There’s a real art to writing these kinds of books. I’m hoping to write a picture book some day but am still trying to come up with just the right idea. Well, the authors in the books I’m about to mention, definitely found that right idea.

My favorite Halloween picture book this year is THE MONSTERS’ MONSTER. I absolutely love this book! Here’s the story line: Some little monsters decide to combine their efforts and create the biggest, scariest monster ever. And sure enough, they come up with one frightful-looking dude. With a little help from a lightening strike, he comes to life. They’re ecstatic! But then their homemade monster just won’t cooperate. He doesn’t act at all like a monster should act. This feel good book is written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, the well-known creator of the Mutts cartoons.  I know he’s written other picture books including the award winning, Me Jane, which I have on my list of things to order but haven’t read yet. The Monster’s Monster, however,  is definitely a winner.


Another winner is CRANKENSTEIN. (Samantha Berger/Dan Santat) You can pretty much guess that this is about a cranky “monster.” I wonder if the author came up with the monster’s name first, and that the story just sort of developed from there. It’s one of those-– Wish I’d thought of that!  books. And haven’t we all felt like “Crankensteins?”

I just ordered another couple of copies of I NEED MY MONSTER (Amanda Noll/Howard McWilliam) which is hard for me to keep in stock at my booth at Quilted Bear. I suspect it’s because of its whimsical  cover. And well, it’s just a cute concept.

BECAUSE I’M THE DAD (Ahmet Zappa /Dan Santat) which features monster characters, is filled with silly, and heart-warming scenes and is another clever book, as is THE MONSTORE, (Tara Lazar/James Burk) which is about a store that provides monsterly needs.  But then Zack, the main character, finds out there are no refunds or exchanges. Don’t you hate when that happens?

And who can resist the old classic, Sesame Street’s THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK which is now out in a board book and which features “lovable, furry, old Grover.” Almost as cute is the follow up: ANOTHER MONSTER AT THE END OF THE BOOK where Elmo shows up as well. (also out in board book)

Okay, I guess there are a few monsters I like.

I’m not only in awe of, but also grateful that there are people out there who use their talents and creativity to make life so fun and uplifting for our children and grandchildren.


Monster Movies Put Things in Perspective

The movie only caught my interest because Kevin Bacon was in it, and I’ve liked Kevin Bacon ever since Footloose. I wondered why the ground around him was rippling, but  figured an earthquake was hitting. I guess I forgot it was October when all the old horror shows come out on TV until this large octopus-looking thing popped out of the ground and pulled one of Kevin’s colleagues into his mouth with its giant tentacles and well, basically slurped him up like he was a spaghetti noodle. So much for that guy.

Around this time of year, monsters always seem to pop up.  These past few years, however, we’ve seen stuff like this pretty much all year,  Right now the trendy monster is the zombie thanks to the TV show, Walking Dead. I caught some of this show once and watched it long enough to find out zombies don’t use napkins or utensils. I understand the writing is a lot better in some of these more modern monster shows than in the older horror movies. I don’t care. There are still monsters in them.

When my husband turned this Kevin Bacon movie back on for just a second to see how Kevin was faring, I did think of one positive aspect of shows like this. “Well, at least this puts our problems in perspective,” I said. “Sure, maybe our furnace is acting up, and maybe I am having trouble balancing the check book, and maybe the government doesn’t know what it’s doing, but at least there aren’t underground octopus things or zombies waiting to chew on us.”

“That’s true,” my husband agreed.  We both stared at the TV as another octopus thing slurped up a senior couple.

“We locked the front door, right?” I asked.