Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: Monster Mess by Margery Cuyler

Book: Monster Mess
Author: Margery Cuyler
Illustrator: S.D. Schindler
Published: 2008
Source: Local library

Yawn--it's bedtime for this monster. But when he gets to the room, it's such a mess that the monster just has to clean it all up before he can possibly sleep. As a little boy snores in the bed, the monster bustles around, picking up blocks, screws, and stinky shoes. At last . . . it's time to sleep. But what will happen when the little boy finds his unexpected guest?

What a fun book! The absurd delight of a scary monster daintily straightening a messy bedroom will provoke a smile. Even as he's obsessively cleaning up, kids will recognize the way he stuffs clothes higgledy-piggledy in drawers and squishes various items into a bulging closet. The structure of each sentence adds a rhythmic quality to a read-aloud, and the vocabulary is simple enough for beginning readers who aren't afraid of a little onomatopoeia.

I loved the monster, who seemed to be a crazy combination of catfish, sea anemone, centipede, and gecko. Even though he looks pretty weird, he is also very friendly-looking for a monster. Schindler gets a lot of intense, vivid touches of color in that I generally don't expect from watercolors, yet there are lovely and subtle shadings and blendings, especially on the monster, that you really don't get with anything else. Nicely done.

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