Saturday, July 3, 2010

Read to Me, Please!: Seven Scary Monsters

Every week, I take Owen to the library for story hour and to checkout new books. After coming across a plethora of less than mediocre children's books, I have decided to review some of our favorites, and some of our not so favorites.

Seven Scary Monsters by Mary Beth Lundgren

The concept of this book is a good one: a young child battles the scary monsters in his bedroom; however, the story fails to impress.

At first, Seven Scary Monsters by Mary Beth Lundgren seems as though it will be an entertaining book. At bedtime, a young boy needs to get rid of the scary monsters that have come out of hiding to cause trouble. He comes up with several creative methods of successfully doing so, with a surprise little twist at the end of the story. This story concept, relatable to all children, has the potential of being enjoyable, but unfortunately, it falls short of doing this.

Claiming to be "sprightly rhymed text", when read aloud, the story sounds awkward as it fails to maintain a consistent rhythm. The author's use of onomatopoeia, or sound words, continuously interrupts the flow of the story, making it sound clumsy. For example, "SEVEN scary monsters hiding in my room. One groans and glares- EEEEK! -sneaking closer... BOOM!"

There are, however, several good things about this book. The phrase "Rick! Rack! Wrinkleshack! Don't you dare come back!" is repeated throughout the book. Its rhyming simplicity and predictability allows young readers the chance to chant the phrase themselves. This book also lets children interact through counting. The story works its way backward from seven monsters to none, with illustrations of seven rather humorous looking monsters to count down on each page. The illustrations by Howard Fine are the best thing about the book. They are bright, colorful, and thoroughly imaginative, providing young readers with many humorous images to explore.

Unfortunately for Seven Scary Monsters, the illustrations cannot make up for the weak story and text. However, with that said, my son actually enjoys this story and doesn’t seem bothered at all by the choppiness of the text. But what does he know about the merits of a quality picture book? After all, he’s only two.

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