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Here are two wonderful board books for the youngest kids out there ready to open a book or two. Both are colorful and made me laugh. First up, an appropriate book for the mess my shotty computer has caused.
written by Connie Colwell Miller
illustrated by Maira Chiodi
Picture Window Books 3/06/2014
8 x 8 18 pages
“Monsters are at Plooble School. There’s time for work and play. Monsters make mistakes at times. “I’m sorry” is easy to say.”
“At Pooble School the monsters play. They also learn the words to say.”
The monsters at Plooble School are a fearsome bunch. From one eye to three eyes or no eye at all, these monster will not scare the little reader. Every monster wears a smile and is glad to be at school. The words to learn today are “I’m sorry.”
All the monsters are seated at their desks, except for one. This monster is goofing around, but when he realizes what he is doing, he faces his classmates and says,
“I’m sorry, friends. I’ll calm down.”
I’m sorry is used in many ways.
“I’m so sorry you feel bad.”
“Oops, I’m sorry, I forgot that rule.”
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t fair.”
What a great way to help young children understand how and why one says, “I’m sorry.” The monsters are funny, kind, and considerate. What wee one does not want to go to school like their big brother or sister? Now, they can go to school at Plooble School with the friendliest monsters seen around books this year. In addition to Monster Knows I’m Sorry, there are three more manner books: Monster Knows Excuse Me, Monster Knows Please and Thank You, and Monster Knows Table Manners. Each book is colorful and uses fun situations to help little children understand the concept of that particular book. I really like this series. I think kids will like the series and may just learn some manners faster than they might otherwise learn them.
But we are not done. No, not yet. Now we have the biggest beast know to man—the elephant. Meet Eddie and Ellie.
written by Daniel Nunn
llustrations by Steve Walker
Heinemann Raintree 8/29/2014
8 x 8 18 pages
“Eddie and Ellie are good friends. But sometimes, Eddie and Ellie can’t stop arguing. You see, everything that Eddie likes . . . Ellie likes the opposite!”
“This is Eddie the Elephant. And this is Ellie the Elephant. Eddie and Ellie love animals! But they can never agree which ones are best.”
Eddie and Ellie are the cutest elephants you will ever see anywhere. I love their big white curious eyes and the green bow atop Ellie’s head. Eddie and Ellie are so adorable a stuffed toy companion of each would be irresistible to hugs. Oh, who would not enjoy a “real” Eddie and Ellie sitting on their bed ready to show them some terrific animals? If only they could agree!
Eddie likes BIG animals like white polar bears. But Ellie likes SMALL animals like lizards. (I’ll go with Eddie on this one.) Poor Ellie is cross-eyed watching the lizard crawl up her long trunk. Yuck! Some kids will love it and it is funny to see. Eddie likes HEAVY animals like the rhinoceros, but Ellie likes LIGHT animals like the lemur. (I’m with Ellie, light is best for a pet.) Back and forth, these two elephants compare their likes to one another. One likes DIRTY animals while the other likes CLEAN animals. One likes animals that live in COLD places and the other likes animals that live in HOT places. (Hot, definitely wins.)
Kids will get more than a few animals to admire while Eddie and Ellie counter each other. By book’s end, young children should understand the concept of opposites. Young kids will love Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites. They never argue, just compare their likes to the other’s likes. Eddie and Ellie smile, stand up on two legs raising their arms in excitement, and seem to have a good time with the other animals. Ellie rides a hippo and Eddie admires the long neck of a giraffe. Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites is another cute board book from Heinemann Raintree/Capstone.
.Now, off with you. Go get your own Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites and of course Monsters Knows I’m Sorry. Go on. They are waiting for you. Don’t keep monsters waiting. Those elephants will remember how fast you came for them. Now, shoo!
MONSTER KNOWS I’M SORRY. Text copyright © 2014 by Connie Colwell Miller. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Maira Chiodi. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Picture Window Books/Capstone, North Mankato, MN.
Learn more about the Monster Knows Manners series HERE.
Find more board books at the Picture Window Books website
an imprint of Capstone Books
EDDIE AND ELLIE’S OPPOSITES. Text copyright © 2014 by Daniel Nunn. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Steve Walker. Reproduced by permission of the publisher Heinemann Raintree, North Mankato, MN.
Learn more about the Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites HERE.
Find more board books at the Heinemann Raintree website
an imprint of Capstone Books
by Chase and Davon Washington & Ana-Gabriela Stroe, illustrator
Bedford House Books 2014
Age 4 to 8 34 pages
“It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but only a second to lose it. Why is it that we are so quick to judge before giving people (or monsters in this case) the benefit of the doubt? There is nothing that feels more wonderful than being recognized for all of your hard work. However, when that recognition does not come, does it make the task a hand any less important? Sometimes the very thing that we are scared to encounter can be the thing that moves us forward. Facing a fear can mean the difference between failure and success. With that in mind, we thought that a good place to start would be with the wrongfully accused “Boogeyman.”
“A long time ago, someone called me the Boogeyman, the name stuck. Maybe I should take the time to formally introduce myself . . . I’m Jack the Boogey.”
Jack the Boogey, protector of children’s sleep, is a monster. Yes, monsters haunt children by living under their beds, hiding out in closets, and maybe even tickling them and then hiding when the child wakes up afraid of the dark. Those monsters are afraid of Jack the Boogey. Jack is the night patrolman who keeps children’s dreams from becoming nightmares. Nasty monsters do not like Jack. Jack ruins all of their nighttime fun. So what is a scary monster to do? Unionize.
One fateful night, Jack the Boogey was hiding in a closet waiting for monsters to shoo away, when a bad monster showed up. Jack pounced on the monster, but there were more, many more. The monsters were waiting for Jack, and they had a plan. Instead of running, the monsters turned on the bedroom lights, screamed, and then ran. The two children awoke, saw Jack, and then they screamed. Jack tried to explain, but it was useless. Jack the Boogey was now Jack the Boogeyman.
The next day, the two frightened kids told their friends all about the monster Jack the Boogeyman, their friends told their friends, those friends told their friends, and now friends are telling their friends and will until there are no friends left to tell that Jack, is the Boogeyman. From that night on, while monsters ruined kids’ sweet dreams, Jack stayed home in bed, depressed. Would Jack ever return to protect his charges? Will monsters continue to harass children, scare them silly, and make them scream until they can no longer utter a sound? How many more nights will children make parents look into closets and under beds looking for the elusive monsters?
The Boogeyman. Definition: an imaginary monster that causes fear, especially in children; regarded as hateful, evil, or frightening; an imaginary evil creature used in stories for frightening children.
Jack the Boogey is NOT the Boogeyman. Monsters maliciously maligned dear Jack. They wanted him out. As in gone. Permanently. They settled for inflicting anguishing mental pain that so debilitated Jack that he became bedridden and depressed. Yes, some monsters are very frightening. Jack is not one of them. Not many know about boogies, nor how they protect children and adults. I did not know. Nor did I know that a gang of marauding monsters had bullied Jack. Yet they did. Kids will enjoy learning of Jack the Boogie.
The illustrations of Jack and the monsters look cartoonish. Best not to scare children. The monsters do not look as scary as many of them are. Again, best for children. Jack the Boogey-man is a pale blue little guy with rosy cheeks, bright white eyes with small pin-point pupils, and two purple horns atop his head. Before the attack, Jack wore a constant smile that radiated from rosy check to rosy cheek. He looked like a janitor with his key ring hanging off his belt. If he ever wore pants and bent down, well, you get the picture. Jack was harmless except toward monsters. The real monsters that tear apart sweet dreams, hide under beds, and cause mayhem.
The one negative is the end pages. Instead of adhered to the inside front and back covers, they flap in the air as additional pages. Poor planning in the constructions phase.
Jack’s story is difficult to believe, but kids will immediately understand and empathize with Jack. Bullies are the same, be they in a schoolyard or in a dark bedroom, late at night. The monsters easily fooled the frightened children who immediately told their friends to be careful. Of course, as time went on, the story of Jack the Boogeyman became embellished, and now hoards of children and adults are afraid of boogies, the very monster sent to protect them from monsters. It is a shame really, but the story needed told.
There is a redemptive moment for Jack. He misses the quiet breathing of sleeping children and hates the sound of their screams. Eventually he decides protecting youngsters—and some of us older kids—is more important that his bruised ego and returns to duty, much to the distress of many really scary monsters. Jack puts others before himself, does the right thing, and deflates his bruised ego. The monsters, who had become arrogant, once again run from boogies like Jack.
Jack the Boogey is My Real Name is the debut children’s book for both authors and illustrator. The story is imaginative but a bit wordy, yet easy to read aloud. It will become a nighttime favorite. Right before parents drop to their knees for an under-the-bed monster check. Jack has a mission statement and an official wallet identification card. He is the real deal of imaginary monsters. You’ll never see him as he protects you, but he is there. Young children going through the monster phase may feel comforted when reading about Jack and his protection skills. Nothing in the story is scary or nightmare inducing, making it the perfect anti-monster remedy.
JACK BOOGEY IS MY REAL NAME: THE TRUTH ABOUT “THE BOOGEYMAN.” Text copyright © 2014 by Chase and Davon Washington. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Ana-Gabriela Stroe. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Bedford House Books, Brooklyn, NY.
Buy Jack the Boogey is My Real Name at Amazon—B&N—Bedford House Books—your local bookstore.
Learn more about Jack the Boogey is My Real Name HERE.
Meet the illustrator, Ana-Gabriela Stroe, at her blogs: http://cargocollective.com/fluffylefluff http://blog.gessato.com/2011/08/05/around-the-world-with-ana-gabriela/
Ana-Gabriela Stroe’s portfolio: http://www.dailyinspiration.nl/the-portfolio-of-ana-gabriela-stroe/
Book 2: Monster Needs His Sleep
written by Paul Czajak
illustrations by Wendy Grieb
Scarletta Kids 4/15/2014
Age 4 to 8 32 pages
“In this silly bedtime story, it’s time for bed, and Monster needs to go to sleep. But he just keeps finding more things to stay awake for! It isn’t until Monster admits he is afraid of the dark that he finds a glowing solution to his nightmare problem. In this playful, rhyming story, Monster shows kids that with a little help from a friend, the dark isn’t so scary after all. The Monster & Me™ series helps kids build character, social, and emotional learning skills through entertaining and memorable real life situations”
“Monster needs to get his sleep. It’s time to go to bed. But when I said it’s sleepy time, he roared, “Let’s play instead!”
Interview with Boy and Monster. If you have not read this, it is worth checking out! Click HERE.
In the first book in the Monster & Me™ series, Monster Needs a Costume, it is Halloween and Monster cannot decide what to wear. He tries on several costumes, all of which are great for Monster, but none of which he wants. In the long awaited follow-up, Monster Needs His Sleep, Monster simply needs to go to sleep. Boy must be exhausted after caring for Monster all day, but he has one more thing to do before tomorrow can arrive: get Monster in bed and asleep.
Monster is stubborn and strong—not to mention large—and knows how to get his way. But Monster is also a kind-hearted soul who loves Boy. Monster is really not a monster at all. Just like most two-year-olds, Monster is a sweet creature that sometimes jumps into his monster disguise. Do these excuses sound familiar: I’m still playing; one more story; I need a snack; I need a drink? Yup, kids will identify with Monster. Boy does a good job of moving Monster along, in much the same way parent’s move their little ones to bed and sleep.
The illustrations are fantastic with oodles of details to delight your child—and you! The rhyming story is fun to read aloud. The words leave your tongue as if they were meant to slid off and amuse your child. The rhyming will help hold kids’ attention while they enjoy this silly story and time with you. Monster and Boy are a great team and Boy a wonderful monster-parent. Monster Needs His Sleep is the perfect bedtime story to help your child close his or her eyes and fall fast asleep dreaming of their own Monster.
COMING SOON! Monster Needs a Christmas Tree, September, 2014.
MONSTER NEEDS HIS SLEEP. Text copyright © 2014 by Paul Czajak. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Wendy Grieb. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Scarletta Kids, Minneapolis, MN.
Also by Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb
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Book: Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Book 3)
Author: Laini Taylor
Age Range: 13 and up
Dreams of Gods & Monsters is the final books in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. (See my reviews of Book 1 and Book 2). If you have read the previous books, you will certainly wish to read Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I think that it wraps up the series in a quite satisfactory manner, while leaving the door open for other books set in the same world.
As in all of Laini's books, the prose in Dreams of Gods and Monsters is rich and evocative, particularly when addressing love and longing. The characters are so fully developed that even when they surprise you, you find their change/growth consistent. The world-building in this series is very strong, with this third book in particular making the history of Eretz (and Earth as conceived by Laini) more clear. The plot is full of twists and surprises, including a character newly introduced in the final book who plays a pivotal role.
I will confess that I had to put this book aside about half-way through, and read something else. The characters were facing so much suffering that I needed a break. But once I came back to Dreams of Gods and Monsters, I read eagerly to the end, and was pleased by the interweaving of plot strands as well as the personal resolution for Karou.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes (though in truth one could open this book at random and find something lyrical and worth quoting on nearly every page):
"Out of betrayal and desperation, amid hostile beasts and invading angels and a deception that felt like an explosion waiting to happen, somehow, here was a beginning." (Page 30, Karou)
"So much to rue, but to what end? All unlived lives cancel one another out. She had nothing but now. The clothes on her back, the blood in her veins, and the promise made by her comrades. If only they would keep it." (Page 110, Karou)
""My wife likes to say that the mind is a palace with room for many guest. Perhaps the butler takes care to install the delegates of Science in a different wing from the emissaries of Faith, lest they take up arguing in the passages."" (Page 274, a Professor of Science)
"No one would understand it, but who cares? She'd just glare at them until they went away. That worked in almost any situation." (Page 419, Zuze)
Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a must-read conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. If you haven't read the first two books, and you enjoy fantasy novels with strong characters (particularly strong female characters) and lavish world-building, you are in for a treat. Gather up all three books, and immerse yourself in Laini Taylor's world of angels and monsters, battles and resurrections, suffering and love.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (@LBKids)
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Source of Book: Purchased it on Kindle
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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).
Ladybug Girl and Her Mama by Jacky Davis & illustrated by David Soman Ladybug Girl loves her mama, and can’t wait to spend the day with her. They plant flowers in the garden, share a special lunch, and enjoy a favorite movie. Together-time has never been so sweet. Just right for Mother’s Day! My …Add a Comment
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.Add a Comment
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 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]
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.”
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]
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!
Little Monster Home School and Work Book by Mercer Mayer. FastPencil Premiere (October 2012); ISBN 9781607469452; 92 pagesOther 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
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher
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, [...]Add a Comment
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 WordPressDisplay Comments Add a Comment
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 ~~ [...]Add a Comment
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.
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.
The anthology will be released in September, and be day-and-date digital.Display Comments Add a Comment
In 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:
I looked at dinosaur skeletons, like this deadly Deinonychus:
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 ……
…. and this ….
…. and then he made a model ……….
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:
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?
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!
Who knew? Not me. I should have.
Anywho, undaunted I proceeded to add my zombunnie to the mix.
Book: Bedtime Monsters
Author: Josh Schneider
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).
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!
REPRESENTING MS. ROSENBERG’S 2nd GRADE CLASS
MS. GO EYES by JULIA B.!
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!
REPRESENTING MS. MELLIN’S 2nd GRADE CLASS
TRASH MONSTER by SIERRA V.!
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!
REPRESENTING MS. MACCRI’S 2nd GRADE CLASS
BULLEYE by NATHAN H.!
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!
REPRESENTING MS. ABATE’S 1st GRADE CLASS
SPARKLES by KATIE F.!
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!
REPRESENTING MS. BROWN’S 1st GRADE CLASS
DAGA BY DOANH!
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!
GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE! I HOPE TO SEE YOU ON HALLOWEEN!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
You can add Moonflower to your list on GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20924104-moonflower
It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup. Here are three - one funny, one fun, one sweet. Enjoy!
|See a preview at the publisher's site|
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 swampBright and fresh and silly! I love it.
GLOOP GLOOP SCHLOOP
do you think he's imagining just HOW GOOD
you'll taste all covered in ketchup?
Eleven to nineteen - skip, skip, skip!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.
Twenty peas cutting - snip, snip, snip!
I want swordplay! A struggle! A battle to the uttermost, and if you will not have ado with me, tell me who will!