You Might Be a Monster & Other Stories I Made Up!

Gr 2—5—This mix of comedy and horror is also a mix of hits and misses. Purportedly written by a "Worm Named Attaboy," it includes 11 stories in verse form, accompanied by lots of bright digital cartoons set on glossy black pages. "Hug a Cactus" has the type of humor many kids enjoy: "I'm stuck on you forever/and no one can tear us apart." Unfortunately, though, too much of the writing lacks a sure sense of rhythm. Here's an example from "Clown Graveyard": "They'll bake you a fresh skull cake/and pile into a tiny hearse,/repeating the same lame jokes/forever is their eternal curse." Some of the pictures will engage kids who enjoy mildly gross humor, and it is fun seeing the worm/author popping up here and there. But the busy pages sometimes look cluttered and lack focus. For a more coherent and clever book like this, try Adam Rex's Frankenstein Takes the Cake (Harcourt, 2008).—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Putative author Attaboy, a worm, presents bizarre stories and poems about, among other things, a clown graveyard, a cactus wanting hugs, and the criteria for monsterhood. The poems are unwieldy and hard to follow; the facetious tone succeeds a little better in prose, but even those are a stretch. Bold-hued digital-looking illustrations create a creepy funhouse atmosphere.

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