Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Picture Books - Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters by Jane Yolen

Today is Day 19 of our 30 Days of Picture Books. Our book for today is one that just makes me smile every time I look at the cover, or even hear the title for that matter. Do you have a picture book that makes you happy right on sight? That's one of the things I love most about children's books - when was the last time a tell-all memoir or work of literary fiction made you burst into a smile?

Tonight we're sharing Jane Yolen's Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters. Yolen's a legend in the world of kidlit. It has to be the very rare child nowadays who hasn't heard at least one of Yolen's books before moving out of elementary school, and for good reason - Yolen captures the moments of kidlit like few other authors can. Whether she's addressing serious issues or just exploring the playful side of life, this is an author who knows what kids like and excels at giving it to them.

And it is that very playfulness that's at the center of Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters. Young fans of the Pixar franchise are the obvious audience for this title, which explores a monster neighborhood full of creatures at their leisure. We're following a pair of monster siblings as they take a trip to the park with Mom. They're sliding down slides, blowing bubbles, riding bikes and sailing boats. And at the end of the afternoon, everyone wants to cool off with a monster-sicle, of course - but unfortunately a little spat ensues, a scenario any parent will find oh-so-familiar.

Yolen's simple, direct phrases are brought to life with deadly cute illustrations by Kelly Murphy. Murphy's translated many of the characteristic behaviors of young children into a monster-verse populated with kids at play. Readers will love poring over the pages to see all the small details Murphy includes, and all the adorable facial expressions (Sprout loves the page where our starring characters fall on the ground during a three-legged race). And adults will see the humor in the parallels with  our own days out with little ones.

At days' end, the monster sibs are headed home with Mom, tired and full of great memories. And when you close the book, you'll share the monster mama's smile at another childhood day gone by.

Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters by Jane Yolen, published by Candlewick Press

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