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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: monsters, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 213
1. Even Monsters …, by AJ Smith | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Even Monsters ..., by A.J. Smith. Giveaway begins April 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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2. #517 & 518 – The Sugary Sherburts by Heather Ellis, age 10 AND The Thing about Things by Cheryl Chen, age 17

CaptureThe Sugary Sherburts

by Heather Ellis, age 10

illustrated by James Ellis


Age 5 to 8   28 pages


“Herbert Sugary-Sherburt has just finished his magnificent chocolate rock masterpiece. When he gets home from work, there is a big disaster at the chocolate factory. How did it start raining hundreds and thousands in Thornton? And how on earth did the Sugary-Sherburts get involved? Kit and Kat are on the case. Will they be able to save the families and their homes in time?”


“A long time ago in a very frosty village called Thornton, there lived a family called the Sugary-Sherburts.”

The Story

The Sherburt family lived in a small village supported by one industry, chocolate. Herbert Sherburt worked at the chocolate factory in the village. One day, after constructing a gigantic ball of chocolate, Hebert strolled home. Later that evening, a commotion started outdoors and ended with the huge chocolate ball Herbert had made at work ramming through the front of his house. With half of the house was gone, Mom Charlotte needed to think of a solution because the kids (Kit, 6 and Kat, 7), could not get to sleep until the house was fixed. She sent her children out to collect as much candy as they could carry, which Charlotte used the candy to rebuild their home. Everything was fantastic . . . until cold Thornton became unexpectedly warm.

Review  [continue reading]


thing about things coverThe Thing About Things

by Cheryl Chen, age 17


Age 7 to 9   30 pages


“There is nothing worse than being ordinary. At least, according to seven-year-old Joey Jones. When Joey gets picked not first, not last, but right in the middle for playing dodgeball at school, he feels unspecial and unwanted. But through an encounter with a certain monster who has been hiding in his bedroom all along, Joey learns that everyone, including Thing, is special in their own way.”


“The kids of Mrs. Larson’s second grade class were splitting up into dodgeball teams that day on the playground.”

The Story

Seven-year-old Joey finds himself picked just before Sheldon—“Smell-don” chosen last—for a game of dodgeball at school. Joey wanted to be first choice and that thought had him tossing and turning in his hammock that night. Joey loved his new hammock. He could see everywhere, even under. Then came the noises.

“Thump. Thump. Thump.”

As Joey watches, the moonlight turned into The Thing. Thing is not a scary monster despite his seven eyes and extra-large fangs, but Joey doesn’t yet know this. He runs for the door tripping on a toy instead. Thing tells Joey he had a bloody knee and then scoops him up. Joey bites down hard on Thing’s arm upsetting the monster, who was afraid Joey wanted to eat him. Joey tells Thing to go home tp his family. Thing tells Joey Things do not have families.

“As a Thing, you are just like every other Thing.”

Thing sadly says he is nothing special but Joey protests saying Thing was the only Thing living in his bedroom.

Review [continue reading]

Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Picture Book Tagged: Cheryl Chen, chocolate factories, Heather Ellis, James Ellis, monsters

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3. Coming Soon!: Moonflower by Angela Townsend


Natasha remembers little from her Russian childhood, other than the lingering nightmares of her mother’s tragic death. So when someone close to her hands her a one-way ticket to Russia, along with the deed to her family farm, and then is brutally murdered, she has little confidence about what awaits her in that distant land.

With doubt and uncertainty, Natasha has no choice but to leave her life in America for an unknown future. Once overseas, the terrifying facts as to why she was really summoned home come to light.

Fact one: Monsters do exist.
Fact two: The only thing keeping those monsters out of the world is an ancient mural hidden below her family’s farm.
Fact three: The mural that keeps the evil out of the world is falling apart.
The final fact: It’s up to Natasha to restore it and save the world from a horror unlike anything seen before.

Luckily, Natasha isn’t alone in her mission. Three Russian Knights are tasked with protecting her from the demons as she restores the mural. And leading the Knights is the handsome and strong Anatoly, who seems to be everything Natasha could hope for in a man. Unfortunately, there is one huge problem. Her Knights are forbidden from having relationships with the artists they protect, and Anatoly is a hardcore rule follower. But rules cannot stop the way she feels.

When a horrifying demon breaches the barrier and pulls Anatoly inside the mural, Natasha can’t help but charge, once again, into the unknown—this time to save the man she secretly loves. Now on the demons’ turf, she risks her own life to free the very one who is supposed to be protecting her. Little does she realize that if she should fail, it could mean the destruction of the very last barrier shielding mankind. Will Anatoly refuse Natasha’s help? Or will he finally realize, when love is at stake, the rules will be broken.

COMING MARCH 31, 2014!


You can add Moonflower to your list on GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20924104-moonflower

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4. Ten Monsters in a Bed

Do you like burps, slurps, snores or sneezes? How about monsters? What about monsters that burp, slurp, snore or sneeze (and fart)? Well, then, here's the book for you- Ten Monsters in a Bed!

A fun, colorful, noisy picture book- perfect to read before bedtime! It's published by Templar Publishing, the same wonderful UK publisher that I illustrate the shark series- Harry Hammer for!

 Templar's description-

In this play on '10 in a bed', 10 monsters are very squished on a bunk bed. On each spread, a monster gets pushed out on to the floor, where readers can press them to hear the fun sounds they make, for example: snoring, scratching, burping, slurping, sniffing and farting.

In each spread, a different noisy monster is kicked out of the top bunk bed by his fellow monsters, where the reader can press a button to activate that monster's noise.

Some near-final sketches of the ten monsters-

Pick up your copy here-

Templar Publishing
Book Depository
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Some early nice reviews-

Read it Daddy!
Red Reading Hub

PS- Sorry for the long time of (8 months!) lack of blogging- I've been posting all news on my Facebook and Twitter but I'll try to add more big news here when I can!

My Facebook Page
My Twitter Page

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5. Post Holiday Doldrumoids

duldromoid5 450

We’ve always known of their existence, but for the first time ever, caught in mid listless, despondency, is what experts commonly refer to as the Post-holiday Doldrumoid…in the flesh……or rather, in the doodle.

No matter. It’s official. We have a Doldrumoid pandemic on our hands. They are here and we have got to deal with them.

Some effective methods for coping with these ubiquitous yet unwelcome creatures are as follows:

1. Ignore them. Doldrumoids have been known to eventually lose interest in their host and reluctantly disappear after a week or two.

2. Keep that crunchy Christmas tree up for another month, along with the exterior icicle lights and the inflatable snow globe on your lawn. Do this while ignoring the fact that the holidays are over. This method seems to keep the Doldrumoids at bay, but leaves the door wide open for Lackus Deselfrespectus spors to take hold.

There are no easy answers, but…

3. For those of us who need to get back to business… pronto, there are some drastic measures that can be implemented. Take tree and exterior lights down, box up Christmas decorations, shove said boxes up in garage rafters, eat salad, go to the gym and then actually make that deadline for your employer/client as opposed to staring blankly at the computer monitor (close mouth, wipe drool off chin, mind don’t get any on the keyboard.)

In the event none of the above methods prove effective, one can always hold on until February 14 when a virulent strain of Guiltus Cupidus overcomes the weakened Doldrumoids, offering minimal relief to some sufferers.

This has been an important public service announcement. You may now return to your regularly scheduled program. Thank you.


Another redraw and a repost from a few years ago. Thought it might be apropos.

10 Comments on Post Holiday Doldrumoids, last added: 1/12/2014
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6. Halloween Skype Contest Finalists! Please Vote!

Wow, I was blown away by the creativity of the kids who entered my Halloween Skype monster contest! I asked them to draw the monster they’d like to purchase at The Monstore, and they came through with some very useful companions, just right for doing tricky things around the house. In fact, I’d like to borrow all of them!

It was tough to pick just five finalists, but here they are, in no particular order.

Please leave a comment voting for your favorite entry #. The monster with the most votes will win a Skype classroom visit with me on Halloween! 




I like how Ms. Go Eyes can dance with Julia whenever she pleases, plus this monster can reach high to get the most coveted snacks in the cabinet. Of course, Ms. Go Eyes loves THE MONSTORE book, too! Congratulations, Julia!




Well, Trash Monster can certainly find a welcomed place in my home. I like how neat and environmentally conscientious he is. And he’s so brightly colored, he’ll fit right in with my decor. Congratulations, Sierra!




Considering that October is National Bullying Prevention Month, I think everyone could use a friend like Bulleye right now. He’s so fierce-looking, he just has to stand there and bullies will steer clear. Congratulations, Nathan!




As Sparkles is already aware, we could all use a little more sparkle in our lives. Everything she touches glitters and shines. What a happy-making monster! Congratulations, Katie!



Ms. Brown’s class got very creative and used shapes to create their monsters. They even counted up all the shapes. I’m impressed! This monster’s needed in my house because my daughter does not like to eat meat. It merely touches her tongue and she spits it out.  What’s a mom to do? Maybe she will follow Daga’s example. Congratulations, Doanh! (And wow, what neat handwriting!)


Thank you to everyone who participated in the Skype monster contest. It was so difficult to choose the finalists because all the creations were terrific. I’m sincerely blown away by the creativity expressed in this exercise!

Kindly comment below with your # monster choice by SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27th and I will announce the winner on the 28th!


12 Comments on Halloween Skype Contest Finalists! Please Vote!, last added: 10/23/2013
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7. Bedtime Monsters: Josh Schneider

Book: Bedtime Monsters
Author: Josh Schneider
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8

Bedtime Monsters is a new picture book by Josh Schneider, who won a 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for Tales for Very Picky Eaters. Bedtime Monsters is a fun story about using your imagination to conquer nighttime fears.

By day, Arnold pretends to be a New York-destroying, animal-eating monster. But when bedtime comes around, he worries about "the monster that comes out at night and bits off toes." His pragmatic mother says: "I'm sure he's just as scared of you as you are of him." Arnold is then visited by a series of monsters, each of whom is afraid of the next, right up until his mother's supposition proves to be indirectly true.

Bedtime Monsters is written with short, declarative sentences that lend themselves to a suspenseful tone. Schneider uses carefully selected vocabulary words to make the sounds of the night come alive. Like this:

"Arnold and the terrible toe biter looked into the dark.
Arnold looked to the left.
The terrible toe biter looked to the right.
The bed made a squeaking noise.
The radiator made a glinking noise.
The closet door made a creaking noise."

There is plenty of dialog, which I think also helps to make it a fun read-aloud (parents can do monster voices). The monsters have creative names like "winged fargles." 

Schneider's watercolor, pen-and-ink, and colored pencil illustrations show Arnold's early pretendings via sketched outlines of the pretended elements surrounding the real elements (e.g. Arnold, with the outline of a monster around him). The monsters who visit Arnold, however, are shown as fully colored, three-dimensional creatures, supporting the conceit that the visits from the monsters are real. This works well, because it makes Bedtime Monsters into a straight-up story, and leaves any message about conquering one's fears in the background where it belongs. There's a humorous bit at the end where we see the last monster pretending to be Arnold. 

Striped PJ-clad Arnold shows a range of emotions, ranging from afraid to annoyed to proud, via both facial expression and posture. His nighttime room is shown with a twilight purple background, against which the monsters stand out clearly. 

I see Bedtime Monsters being popular with kids who are afraid of the dark, as well as with kids who like playing monster (are there any who don't?). As an adult reader, I like the subtlety of the message, and the way "he's more afraid of you than you are of him" plays out slowly over the course of the book. I also like the matter-of-fact authority of the mother (if only it were really that easy), and the general sense of fun of the text. Recommended for home and library purchase.  

Publisher: Clarion Books (@hmhkids) 
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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8. zombunnie


So, you know, I love bunnies (and who doesn’t,) and zombies are the coolest. So, why not a zombie bunny? Well, took a peek on the Googles for zombie bunny and guess what? It’s a thing!

It’s a big fat thing! 

Who knew? Not me. I should have.

Anywho, undaunted I proceeded to add my zombunnie to the mix.

3 Comments on zombunnie, last added: 10/16/2013
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9. What Monster Would You Buy?

On National Read Across America Day, March 2, I Skyped with Mrs. Mozer’s third grade class—which is sure to become an annual tradition, this being the 2nd year in a row.

After sharing Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” with the class, we joked about my upcoming book, THE MONSTORE, and I asked them to pretend they were going shopping. “If you could buy a monster at The Monstore, what would it look like? What special monsterly talent would it have?”

Their answers are amazing. I wish I could actually buy their imaginative creations! They hear all secrets, they complete homework, they give gifts, and they shoot cupcakes. They’re as cuddly as a cloud, wiggly as Jell-o, and black as magic. And just like THE MONSTORE story, some of their monsters are used for sibling annoyance.

Thanks again to Mrs. Mozer’s entire 3rd grade class for the special day and the cool monsters!

Now onto to monster parade, part uno! The second installment will post tomorrow.

Enjoy, and be sure to leave a comment for the students of 3-M!











10 Comments on What Monster Would You Buy?, last added: 5/29/2012
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10. How to Slay Monsters

Since I’m a horror writer, at least a member of the association, you might think I have something to say about monsters. But these monsters, the ones I want to talk about, are metaphoric. 

Plenty of monsters have walked through my life. The cancer which took my father, the self-doubt which played havoc with my twenty-something brain when my first fiancée left me stranded in Lawrence with only a handful of acquaintances and an apartment with no water… Aimee’s illness and death. 

I’ve always thought it took bravery and courage to slay monsters. I’ve heard those words a lot since the article was published. Brave and courageous are not adjectives I’d ever use for myself—I’m just slaying the monsters the only way I know how. 

Here’s the first trick: you have to look at the monster. You can’t turn away, or run, or hide. It may seem like I’m speaking of courage, but really—really—the monster weakens with your gaze on it. The courage only needs to come one time, the first time, and each subsequent time a monster rears its shaggy head, it’s not as big as the first. It’s not as scary. Just look at it. Acknowledge it. Accept it for what it is: cancer… mental illness... death.

I’m not a grief counselor or an expert, but I’m an expert on me. What I know, what I know as well as my own name, is Aimee’s illness—all of the ups and downs over the last eight years—was a monster. It was a monster full of teeth with black eyes full of malice. Opening up in the article, sharing our story, helped drive a big ol’ metaphoric sword into that monster’s gullet. 

I cut my monster-slaying teeth as a boy, watching my father slowly deteriorate while cancer and radiation treatment nibbled away. It was a hard lesson for an elementary school kid, but I’ve become the man I am because I stared it down and learned how weak it really was. The monster didn’t own me.

Here’s the other trick, the one which makes looking at the monster the first time easier: you have to have hope. Understand this special kind of hope, a kind of hope born of love and patience. I knew my father wasn’t going to “get better.” But hope—hope for my life, and the lesson I learned about mortality—shaped me as a boy. 

Life is short. Live it. Realize that the monsters don’t own us.

The day I asked Aimee to marry me, I thought I heard my father’s voice. “Just do it, boy.” I’ve never shared that with anyone. “Just do it, boy.” I don’t know why it came out as a Nike ad, but…

That’s how you slay the monsters. Just do it.

Life is short. Live it.

Every heroic tale takes a trip through the underworld (at least metaphorically). There, the hero gains what he/she needs to slay the monsters/accomplish his/her task. My weapon of choice? Hope.

Life is short. Live it with hope and love and patience. Just do it.

2 Comments on How to Slay Monsters, last added: 7/2/2012
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11. A Dragon? No way! Prove it

Awhile back I watched a great documentary about Dragons on the History Channel. It was different because it explored the scientific and historical findings that lead through civilizations. From Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Carthage, Scandinavia, China and Japan through the Middle Ages, across the ocean into Mexico with the Olmecs and Aztecs who performed human sacrifice to appease their dragon deity to Native North Americans and present day, the basic concept of the dragon has endured throughout millennia. The first evidence of dragons appeared in Mesopotamia 6000 years ago when the first written records were made. In this myth a good dragon, Marduk, slays the evil dragon, Tiamat, and uses the carcass to create all of the elements necessary for creation of the world. The question is why a dragon? Where did this concept originate? Why not a bear or wolf? Continue reading

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12. Bill Fick is a personal favorite artist of mine, and a good guy...

Bill Fick is a personal favorite artist of mine, and a good guy and good friend to boot. Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies sat down with him to talk about the monsters in his work. Bonus: watch Bill carve a big gooey linoleum-block head.

(via Controlling the Monster)

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13. My next FREE Kindle ebook for kids is Silly Monsters 1,2,3

Mousington has forgiven me for hiding his jam.

So, what to do to celebrate? Fishblanket has been giving me rides around the walled garden in a wheelbarrow. I have had a large slice of chocolate cake.

And now I am going to give away another free Kindle ebook for kids on amazon. I say "for kids", but really anyone can download it. Why not? It's free!

I generally don't read "grown-up" books myself. They are usually boring.

Here is the book I am giving away, it is a Silly Monsters counting book. It is scheduled to go free on Amazon on Friday 27th July and Saturday 28th July.

Join the freevolution!

Cover of Silly Monsters 1,2,3
Silly Monsters 1,2,3

And here are some pictures from the book:
silly monsters in a tree, illustration from my ebook for kids
Three Silly Monsters in a tree

Illustration of six silly monsters on a train from my ebook for kids
Six Silly Monsters on a train


0 Comments on My next FREE Kindle ebook for kids is Silly Monsters 1,2,3 as of 7/25/2012 10:27:00 AM
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14. Picture Book Roundup - August edition

It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup. Here are three - one funny, one fun, one sweet.  Enjoy!

  • The funny one
See a preview at the publisher's site
Vere, Ed. 2012. Bedtime for Monsters. New York: Henry Holt.

Do you ever WONDER if somewhere, not too far away, there might be ... MONSTERS?
This book may be reminiscent of  "Going on a Bear Hunt," but you won't be going anywhere; a monster may be coming to hunt you!

And as he crosses the gloopy, schloopy swamp
do you think he's imagining just HOW GOOD
you'll taste all covered in ketchup?
Bright and fresh and silly!  I love it.

  • The fun one
Baker, Keith. 2012. 1-2-3 Peas. New York: Beach Lane.

A follow-up to the popular LMNO Peas, I like this one even better. The digitally rendered and definitely adorable peas count their way to 100 in rhyming fashion.

Eleven to nineteen - skip, skip, skip!
Twenty peas cutting - snip, snip, snip!
While it can be read quickly for fun, it's worth savoring to find and enjoy each delightfully quirky pea (can you find the one singing in the shower?) and note the great details.  How do peas travel when in a rush?  In a Spea-dy Bus, of course.

More peas, please!

  • The sweet one
Kraegel, Kenneth. 2012. King Arthur's Very Great Grandson. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.

I want swordplay! A struggle! A battle to the uttermost, and if you will not have ado with me, tell me who will!

So says brave and diminutive Henry, who sets off for adventure astride his trusty donkey, Knuckles. He encounters a Dragon, a Cyclops, a Griffin, and a Leviathan. They are no match for him at swordplay, but at chess? Perhaps.  Simple pen and watercolor illustrations are a bright and cheery mix of naive and cartoon styles of painting; pairing perfectly with this story of five utterly guileless characters destined to become friends. Enchanting!

I just noticed that each of these was illustrated by the author, or authored by the illustrator.  Whichever way you slice it, great talent.

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15. Dracola- RC Cola Halloween

Dracola! Special-edition, glow in the dark, blood-red Halloween label for RC Cola UK.

At Asda stores throughout England. Or order online HERE.  

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16. I Need My Monster Book Parade!

Check out this video of Mrs. Bright’s second grade class in Alpharetta, GA. The students chose I Need My Monster (written by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam) for their Book Parade!

The costumes are amazing! Way to go!

0 Comments on I Need My Monster Book Parade! as of 10/30/2012 8:54:00 AM
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17. Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home, School and Work Book - Review / Tool Flashcards

If you've read books together with a preschooler or early elementary aged child I imagine you've seen Mercer Mayer's popular Little Critter books.  But if you are like us, you might not be familiar with another of Mercer Mayer's fabulously cute characters -- Little Monster.

Little Monster has pointy ears and teeth, wings and a spiky tail. He's a not-to-scary, overall-wearing, dragon kind of monster that spends his days doing the ordinary things all children do: going to school, spending time with his family and trying to stay out of trouble.  The Little Monster series books were first published in the late 1970s, and the bestselling books continue to be popular with young kids today. However, many of the books are now long out-of-print. 

FastPencil is helping to bring back the Little Monster books for a new generation to read. The company has released a fantastic Mercer Mayer Classic Collectible four-book series. The books feature Mayer's “Little Monster” character.  My family recently had the chance to read one of the books in the series: Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home School and Work Book.

Though it's printed with different formatting, Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home, School and Work Book is actually a compilation of three of Mayer's original picture books: Little Monster at Home, Little Monster at School and Little Monster at Work. As collections tend to be, this hardcover book is larger-sized, 92 pages long in all.  Each of the stories are treated like separate chapters within the book and a table of content in front indicates page numbers.  The book is also available as an e-book download (we received the hardcover copy version to review).

Young kids can easily identify with Little Monster -- after all, even though he's dragon-like, he acts like a normal kid, not a monster! The illustrations in the book are very similar to those in the Little Critter series, packed full of imaginative, action-filled scenes and interesting characters.

My kids especially appreciate how Mayer includes little humorous scenarios within the illustrations including aliens at the airport and a spider inching down from a bathroom sink right in front of a monster cat.  In fact, the illustrations are so fun to look at, you'll want to spend a little extra time pouring over the pages while reading to make sure you don't miss anything in the book.  Both my kids found the book engaging and enjoyable. It's a good read aloud for preschoolers and also is challenging and interesting enough for early readers.  I'd recommend it for ages preschool-2nd grade.

Little Monster gives a tour of his house in Little Monster at Home. He starts with the cellar, a rather  unusual choice. (Who starts a home tour with the cellar? - I guess monsters do!)  Mayer provides readers with a fun glimpse into the life of the Little Monster family. They take baths and do the laundry just like the rest of us.  Little Monster's pet Kerploppus sleeps on the couch, "even though he is not supposed to."  The book also details what the family does around the house during the various seasons. I adore the winter illustrations.  Little Monster mentions Christmas and likes his house best in wintertime because "it's so very snuggly and warm." 

In Little Monster at School, a student named Yally doesn't seem to like school much at all. He gets frustrated easily and wants to be the best at everything. Little Monster shows how to be a good friend and helps brings out the best in Yally by boosting Yally's self-confidence with some well-deserved praise. [In related news, earlier this year Wanderful, Inc. released a Little Monster at School iPad storybook app.]

My son's favorite section of the book is the Little Monster at Work part. The busy illustrations and focus on vocabulary building in this Little Monster story remind me of Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day. Little Monster follows his grandfather to various places and learns about different occupations.  Together they visit a road construction site, car shop, T.V. station, circus, newspaper business, medical center, campsite,  marina, the moon, a diner, home construction site, airport, farmer's market, the Olympics, craft fair, town square, and also learn about jobs in science.  There's not much explanation in the text as to what the various jobs entail, but the illustrations offer unlimited discussion possibilities.
Little Monster Home School and Work Book by Mercer Mayer. FastPencil Premiere (October 2012); ISBN 9781607469452; 92 pages
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Other books in the Mercer Mayer Classic Collectible series include: Little Monster Word Book with Mother Goose; Little Monster Fun and Learn Book and Professor Wormbog In Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo 

Related Links

Tool Flashcards and Tool Box Educational Activity

The book ends with a question from Little Monster, "Did you see anything in my book that you would like to be?" I asked my son what he wanted to be when he grows up and he replied, "a fixer."  That's not entirely surprising considering both of his grandfathers are retired mechanics. We talked about the different tools mechanics use, and I asked him to identify a few common tools.  He knew a few but it became quickly apparent that his basic tool vocabulary is lacking.

We were on a vocabulary kick after reading the word heavy "At Work" section of Mayer's book, so I decided to further the educational lessons and make some tool flashcards and a paper tool box envelope to hold the flashcards for my son. Now he knows correct tool terminology and can call the tools by their proper names (both grandpas will be so proud). We've played with the cards in a variety of ways including putting the tools in alphabetical order. I'm considering printing out a second set so we can play Go Fish--tool style.

Hand Tools Activities and Worksheets for Kids
Tool Coloring Pages and Writing Practice - Twisty Noodle
Handy Manny Toolbox Printable - Family.com
T is for Toolbelt Craft - Brilliant Beginnings Preschool
Matching Tools Printable (Pre-K - 1st) - TeacherVision
Tools Printouts - EnchantedLearning.com
Webelos Craftsman Activity Badge Worksheets - Boy Scout Trail
Felt Tools and Toolbox Templates - Serving Pink Lemonade

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)  

1 Comments on Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home, School and Work Book - Review / Tool Flashcards, last added: 12/2/2012
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18. Jack Templar, Monster Hunter Tour, Day 1

4 Star The Templar Chronicles, Book 1: Jack Templar Monster Hunter Jeff Gunhus 184 Pages    Ages 8 to 12 …………………….. Back Cover: If you have this book in your hands, I assume you are already a monster hunter or in training to become one. I hope my story helps you in the many fights ahead. However, [...]

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19. Monsters, Zines, and MonsterZines with Stephen Bissette

Weird tales and comics naturally go together. From the days of pulp stories with enthralling illustrations, through EC’s Wertham-harried evocation of the fantastic and grotesque, to the heydays of Vertigo and Darkhorse, readers want to see an artist’s interpretation of the strange and bizarre. And the most exciting weird comics bring visual elements to the narrative that the reader could never have predicted or expected. Stephen Bissette has spent a great deal of his life contributing to shock and wonder for readers, and through his work teaching at the Center for Cartoon Studies, making sure that tradition continues.

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As mythology and urban legends attest, some of the greatest frisson when it comes to monster stories comes from attaching them to a particular landscape, the spookier and more remote, the better. Bissette and friend Joseph A. Citro started constructing geographical maps of Vermont’s own ghost tales, and then monster tales, which culminated in the publication THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE from University Press of New England. It features “fiends, winged weirdos, terrestrial terrors, and water whatzits”. If the cover seems playful, be prepared for a number of surprises lurking within its covers ready to pounce. Firstly, the table of contents arranges the Vermont-native beasties according to their elemental homes like a creepy medieval grimoire, giving the impression that the state is not safe by land, mountain, or sea, and add to that the chilling category “town”. Town?! But that’s only the first indication of the genuinely spooky stuff Citro and Bissette have catalogued. Then there are the names. They are disarmingly simple, and have that ring of folksy authenticity that makes a particular mark on the imagination: there’s “Pigman”, “Human-Faced Calf” and “Serpent of Dead Creek”. Shudder.

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Maybe it’s the fact that these creatures are not easily identifiable within wider horror tradition. They have their own unique dwelling place in remote and rural imagination. The “Hopping Horror”, for instance, has a very specific haunt along “Route 7”, and is simply described as a “naked, hopping, man-like critter”. Honestly, that would be enough to freak me out on a dark autumn night, but Bissette’s illustrations conjure far more than your own imagination is likely to construct on its own. A personal favorite of mine is the “Man-Eating Stone”, which Citro explains is a rock which “becomes less solid, and like a living thing, swallows the unfortunate trespasser”. Bissette builds fear from the ground up by working with the familiar. The stone surface subtly shifts into glowering eyes and sprouts a tortured human arm reaching skyward in the wilderness. Bissette’s “stomach dwelling snakes” are not for the faint of heart, to say the least. I had to know more about this project that made me uneasy about road-trips from several states away, so I asked Bissette a couple of questions.

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HM-S: What was the genesis of this book?

SB: I’ve been friends with the author, Joe Citro, for a couple of decades or more now. Joe is one of my best friends on planet Earth, that’s all there is to it. Sometime in the 1990s, we decided to “get into some foolishness,” as Joe calls it, and we self-produced and self-published the first version of a cartoon map of Vermont entitled VERMONT’S HAUNTS. I drew up a template map, Joe tagged where peculiar events had happened, and I illustrated the key “weird” sightings and events around the state, what would fit of them, and Joe wrote captions for them. We did pretty well with that, and every so many years we get a hankering to “get into some mischief” and work up another project. THE VERMONT GHOST GUIDE was one of those, which was published in 2000 and is still in print and selling well in and around our home state. THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE was our sequel/companion to that book. I pitched the book to our GHOST GUIDE publisher, University Press of New England, and got the best deal I could for Joe and I, and we got to work.

HM-S: Is there still a strong monster storytelling element up in Vermont?
SB: I wouldn’t have said or thought so, but since doing the book, I’ve been approached by more than one person or couple claiming to have seen “things” around Vermont. So I reckon there is.

HM-S: What did you most enjoy about illustrating the book?

SB: It was just a pleasure to draw, period. It was great working with the art director and team at UPNE, but nothing was as much fun as just drawing the creatures. It was a path to getting my own drawing chops back up to speed after a lengthy period in which I really didn’t do much drawing, save for my work in the classroom at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

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As unexpectedly frightening as THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE is, it works on the basis of a kind of subtlety that blends the urban legend with the uncanny. Bissette’s imagination runs wild on a very personal new project, an old-fashioned ‘zine called MONSTER PIE, created alongside Center for Cartoon Studies graduate Denis St. John. The indie monster ‘zine is a no-holds-barred freefall into the play of the darker side of the imagination, featuring illustration, short comics, and informative discussions about the horror genre. It’s inspiration lies in monster movies that both Bissette and St. John grew up with, and expresses with gusto their mutual enthusiasm for stretching the boundaries of horror illustration. Glancing through its pages proves the point that horror actually crosses genre boundaries regularly, from the folk-tale, to the sci-fi, to gothic tradition. A healthy does of mixing brings you the ingeniously “baked”, MONSTER PIE.

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It packs a particular punch for this very reason: I’ve seen few mainstream or indie works that truly made me feel unsure of what lay beyond the next page. There’s a certain exhilaration in going off the map in this way, and as a ‘zine, it doesn’t have to follow the constraints of sequential narrative in doing so. That feature may, in fact, make it more spine-chilling than even THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE. You’ll find features of pulp sci-fi, literary horror tradition, and monster films that should be recognizable, but they are combined in sensory-twisting combinations and in widely differing art styles that both Bissette and St. John adopt. Bissette was kind enough to comment on MONSTER PIE and on his close collaboration with St. John. It still doesn’t explain how the two manage to bring the nether-reaches of the imagination to the page in such a fluid manner, but it does bring some new angles to the question.

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HM-S: How did you and Dennis St. John get together on such a unique project?

SB: We would throw together these little monster minicomics for movie events—when we screened a double-bill of THE KILLER SHREWS (1959) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) for the Main Street Museum in White River Junction, VT a few summers ago, Denis, Tim Stout, and I did this little “Killer Shrew/Zombie Survival Guide” minicomic. This past summer, Denis and I did the same for a 35mm Saturday Fright Special (a Keene, NH-based cable-access horror host TV series) theatrical showing of the Chiodo Brothers’ KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE. We threw together, in a few days, a sick little book of ersatz parody poetry and monstrous clown sketches, and that was fun.

Cartoonists in Denis’s circle, including me, also contributed “pin-up” portraits of Denis’s characters in his serialized graphic novel AMELIA to his own comics zine MONSTERS & GIRLS over the past couple of years. AMELIA was Denis’s first expansive graphic novel, taking five years to complete, and major commitment, and he just finished it in the spring of 2012. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to tackle next, but he needed a breather, without stopping the flow of ink and drawings. That prompted me to suggest we just do our own free-form monster zine, mixing art, articles, and a smattering of comics in light enough combination to keep it from ever being anything but fun. No heavy lifting or content: just fun stuff. Denis was up for that.

This past Halloween, the Spooktacular folks screened a gorgeous 35mm print of the original British TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972), based on the EC horror comics, so we got ambitious and did two zines for that event, and one of them was MONSTER PIE.

Denis goes way back with this stuff: he was part of a collective in his home state of Indiana called Atomic Age Cinema, another “horror host” live-monster-introduction-and-stage-act accompanying revivals of vintage public-domain horror, sf, and fantasy films. I met Denis when he was among my students at CCS, and we shared a lot of common interests. Denis graduated from CCS some years ago, and has made a commitment to the CCS community by sticking around, and we’re now colleagues and friends. So, MONSTER PIE is our way of keeping our hand in just drawing what we love to draw—movie monsters—for the sheer pleasure of it. I was the one who pushed to include zine features like the monster movie review and the archival monster movie article in each issue, and we’re going to keep doing MONSTER PIE until it’s not fun anymore, or our brushes give out.

HM-S: What can an old-fashioned ‘zine bring to readers today, as suffused as we are with digital content, corporate comics, and media-hyped magazines?

SB: Zine culture was part and parcel of my experience growing up; some of my first published artwork appeared in 1970s genre movie fanzines like CRYPT OF TERROR, JAPANESE FANTASY FILM JOURNAL, and Ted Rypel’s OUTER LIMITS fanzine, and I contributed a fair amount to comics zines of the late 1970s and early 1980s, too. Zine culture was also central to Denis’s generation, via other kinds of comics and media zines; CCS’s first Fellow who became a fellow instructor, Robyn Chapman, rekindled my own enthusiasm for zines of all kinds with her sheer passion for zines. Robyn’s love for zines was absolute and genuine, and fueled the whole CCS zine culture in many ways. CCS is a zine and comic factory in its own right, its incredible what comes out of the basement production lab on a monthly basis.

Zines just don’t go away. I’m started experimenting with ebooks, which I’ll be into in a major way in 2013 and 2014—I see that as an extension and mutation of zines, in a more expansive way. But there’s a tactile experience on both ends of the equation—the zine maker, and the zine reader—that digital media can’t supplant. I don’t get that from blogs or ebooks or online zines. There’s something about holding a zine in your hands, spending time with the physical object, that’s irreplaceable.

There’s also a purity and playfulness to zines that I love. However much work one pours into it, it IS play. The fact that there are no gatekeepers, save the access to a photocopier and enough money to print a few copies, remains a central attraction, too—and Denis and I have an entire production lab at our fingertips at CCS. We don’t need permission, we just need to be able to pay for the printing. Given all the gatekeepers corporate and mass culture erects and maintains between inspiration and publication, zines remain the personal steamroller over all of that—you think of it, you make it, you publish it, it’s in your hands. That’s still a real kick, in 2012.

A gargantuan “thank you” from The Beat goes out to Stephen Bissette for his insider view of monster-creating. Both THE VERMONT MONSTER GUIDE and MONSTER PIE are certainly a “kick” even in 2012, and for fans of the messy roots of horror tradition, they are two mileposts to look out for, particularly if you find yourself wandering in remote Vermont. After reading these, I don’t think I’ll venture up there without an armored vehicle. Just saying.


Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress

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Join the Party! Jeff Gunhus is wrapping up a 3 week tour with a Twitter Party on Friday, December 21 from 6 pm to 8 pm EST Use the hashtag #JackTemplar to join the party. Missed the tour? Check out the entire tour schedule for great reviews, guest posts, and interviews!…………………………………………. MONSTER HUNTERS ~~AND ~~ [...]

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21. Cartoon Network Animation Academy

 I was contacted by TBWA/RAAD to design and illustrate characters to appear
on a series of advertisements for Cartoon Network's Animation Academy.

The characters are in three separate groups (humans, monsters and superheroes)
and all are in unfinished states, bored and waiting to be completed by animators at the school.

Character development and exploration below the ads.

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22. Titan Unveil ‘Monster Massacre’ Anthology

The Brit Zone continues, sort of, with a new announcement from Titan Comics. This week Titan unveiled a new co-publishing deal between themselves and Atomeka, which will put out ‘Monster Massacre’. This anthology will feature stories all about – you guessed it – monsters. On top of stories from creators like D’Israeli, Ian Edginton, Ron Marz, and Dave Wilkins, the book will also include a Joe Simon/Jack Kirby story, ‘The Greatest Horror of Them All’, taken from Black Cat Mystery.

The cover is far too rude for me to post on The Beat, so instead here’s a page or two of interiors.

mm2 Titan Unveil Monster Massacre Anthology

Put together by writer/artist Dave Elliott, the anthology’s full list of credits are:

Joe Simon/Jack Kirby, Andy Kuhn, Dave Dorman, Mark A Nelson, Ron Marz /Tom Raney, Dave Elliott/Alex Horley,Vito Delsante/Javier Aranda, Dave Wilkins/Dave Elliott, Jerry Paris/Arthur Suydam/Dave Elliott,  Ian Edginton/D’Israeli, Alex Horley and Steve White.

A little bereft of female creators perhaps, but that’s a fine line-up. There are ten stories collected in total, along with two art galleries.

mm1 Titan Unveil Monster Massacre Anthology

The anthology will be released in September, and be day-and-date digital.

6 Comments on Titan Unveil ‘Monster Massacre’ Anthology, last added: 3/14/2013
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23. Matt Archer Book Blast

Matt Archer: Blade's Edge

When Matt Archer was fourteen, he discovered monsters are real. As if that wasn’t enough to go on for a few decades, Matt also found out that he’d been chosen to hunt those monsters--with a sentient, supernatural knife. Now fifteen, Matt has spent the last year working with a clandestine military unit, trying to rid the world of monsters, demons and other vicious creatures, all while keeping it a secret from nearly everyone he knows back home in Billings.

Including his mom.

Add in a new girlfriend, family secrets, sibling drama and enough homework to sink an aircraft carrier, and Matt’s life has become more complicated than he ever imagined. Worse, the knife has developed some very definite opinions about Matt’s personal life and it interferes in his business whenever it wants. More and more, Matt’s coming to realize that sharing brain-space with a spirit kind of sucks.

When stories of decimated towns and hordes of zombies start pouring into the Pentagon from Afghanistan, Matt knows he’ll be called up soon. Between the new mission and the knife’s increasing control over his mind, Matt wonders if he’ll survive long enough to take his driver’s exam.

Review Quotes for Matt Archer: Blade’s Edge

“Blade's Edge is an exciting continuation of the Matt Archer series. Kendra Highley did not fall victim to the sophomore funk. She has written an emotional and power story about Matt's horrific journey to rid the world of monsters.” –Kinx’s Book Nook (Amazon)

“I enjoyed Matt Archer: Monster Hunter to the point I was picking it up every time I had spare moments (which are few in my home), but MA: Blade's Edge has blown me away! Ms. Highley has crafted a story that comes to life with vivid images, exciting adventures, and thrilling mishaps that add a touch of humor (driving test, anyone?)” –Kelly C. (Amazon)

“"Matt Archer Blade's Edge" more than delivers what a reader wants from a sequel. The tension and action are taken up a level, as are the mysteries and plot developments.
Best of all, you feel the time passing from book to book and see the characters really grow and change.” –Picky Reviewer (Amazon)

“The Matt Archer books are the best young adult books I've read since I was a young adult! Think Supernatural for a younger audience, but better. I'll be ordering paper copies for my Favorites shelf. Not to be missed!” Sarah G. (Amazon)

Buy Links for Blade’s Edge:

Matt Archer: Monster Hunter

Fourteen-year-old Matt Archer spends his days studying Algebra, hanging out with his best friend and crushing on the Goddess of Greenhill High, Ella Mitchell. To be honest, he thinks his life is pretty lame until he discovers something terrifying on a weekend camping trip at the local state park.

Monsters are real. And living in his backyard.

But that's not the half of it. After Matt is forced to kill a strange creature to save his uncle, he finds out that the weird knife he took from his uncle's bag has a secret, one that will change Matt's life. The knife was designed with one purpose: to hunt monsters. And it's chosen Matt as its wielder.

Now Matt's part of a world he didn't know existed, working with a covert military unit dedicated to eliminating walking nightmares. Faced with a prophecy about a looming dark war, Matt soon realizes his upcoming Algebra test is the least of his worries.

His new double life leaves Matt wondering which is tougher: hunting monsters or asking Ella Mitchell for a date?

Review quotes for Matt Archer: Monster Hunter:

“Terrific page turner; I stayed up half the night reading it, and now I can't wait for the next installment.”  --Amelia Anne (Goodreads)

“The action is quick-paced, abundant and so much fun!!! I can't get over just how awesome of a read this book is; I can't wait for more!!!” --Danielle S. (Goodreads)

“I can't remember the last time I had this much fun reading a book. The eponymous narrator is a very likable and believable hero, the world is rich and detailed….
It has been a long time since I was a teenager, but I'm pretty sure that this book would appeal to an audience of all ages.” -- Misha B. (Goodreads)

“The action doesn't stop. Seriously! I was up until after 1am because I couldn't put it down!” --Riamachia (Amazon)

“It's funny - I thought I was too old for YA stories, and then I realised that I was just looking for the right kind of stories to hold my interest. This is one of those. If you're looking for vampires or angels or similar things that tend to make up YA novels at the moment, you won't find that here - you will, however, find something a bit more awesome.” –Sweartoad (Amazon)

Buy Links for Matt Archer: Monster Hunter:

Author Kendra C. Highley

Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.

Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/2413

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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24. What Does a Monster Look Like?

S.P. GatesIn this guest post by author S.P. Gates, she shares how she pictures Zilombo, the monster from her new lower middle grade novel, The Monster in the Mudball, out next week from our Tu Books imprint.

Hi from England to my American readers!

Question: First of all, who is Zilombo?

Answer:  Zilombo is the monster in my book, The Monster in the Mudball. Here are a few things it says about her, in the book:

1.) Zilombo is very ancient, a mythical creature older than dinosaurs, an incredible mixture of many beasts.

2.) Every time she hatches out of her mudball, she looks different and has evolved  a new animal skill, usually to help her catch things to eat. When she hatches in England she can collapse her skeleton like a rat does and squeeze through the tiniest holes after her prey!

3.) She’s got teeth like a crocodile, skin like a hippo, a leap like a frog and swivel eyes like a chameleon. She’s got sharp talons, curled into leopard claws. She has the low jutting forehead of an ape and her nose is pulled forward into a muzzle, like a dog. She has rusty orange hair, that sticks up in a crest on her head Mohawk style, then bristles down her back like a lion’s mane.

4.) Oh, and (I forgot!) she has scaly chicken legs.

No wonder her name means “Beasts.”  Imagine a mixture of monsters from your worst nightmares and that’s Zilombo!

Every reader imagines her a bit differently because she’s a shape shifter, always changing. You never know what you’re going to get when she hatches out next. Here’s what I looked at, when I was trying to imagine her:

I looked at African masks, like this one:

Traditional dogon masques in Tirelli, Pays Dogon, Mali

Traditional dogon masques in Tirelli, Pays Dogon, Mali. Photograph by Ferdinand Reus, taken from Wikipedia Commons

I looked at dinosaur skeletons, like this deadly Deinonychus:

dromaeosaurid dinosaur Deinonychus

Skeleton of the dromaeosaurid dinosaur Deinonychus at Field Museum of Natural History, taken from Wikipedia Commons

I looked at photographs and video clips of lions, hippos, apes, all kinds of animals, and learned how they behave.

But everyone imagines Zilombo a bit differently.

My grown-up son Alex sometimes makes me models of the characters in my books.  I asked him to make me a model of Zilombo.  First he drew some ideas, like this ……

Zilombo sketch 1

…. and this ….

Zilombo sketch 2

…. and then he made a model ……….



a closer look at Zilombo

This is Alex’s Zilombo. The illustrator who worked on the cover of The Monster in the Mudball pictured her a little differently:



In the end, we ended up with a cover that shows off Zilombo’s silhouette and maintains her mystery:


(the dragon is not Zilombo)

So, what does Zilombo look like? You tell me! Your Zilombo will be different from my Zilombo. And, the wonderful thing is, we’re all right!

How do you imagine Zilombo?

Filed under: Art, guest blogger Tagged: art, illustration, monsters, S.P. Gates, the monster in the mudball, Tu Books

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25. I love Andy Ristaino’s 123 Creatures so much. You may know...

I love Andy Ristaino’s 123 Creatures so much. You may know Andy as the lead character designer on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.

0 Comments on I love Andy Ristaino’s 123 Creatures so much. You may know... as of 1/1/1900
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