The Night the Scary Beasties Popped Out of My Head

Daniel Kamish, Author, David Kamish, Author, David Kamish, Illustrator
Daniel Kamish, Author, David Kamish, Author, David Kamish, Illustrator Random House Books for Young Readers $14 (40p) ISBN 978-0-679-89039-3
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Working as a team, David Kamish and his seven-year-old son Daniel imagine a bad dream come to life. Awakened by ""a growling in his melon"" (""melon"" appears three times as a synonym for ""head""), a boy named Dan goes to his notebook and sketches a tyrannosaur with a gaping mouth and rolling eyes. He plans to erase the picture and, with it, his fright. But the ""scary nightmare Beastie"" morphs into a real gray-and-purple-speckled monster that sneezes out a spattery-green ""Boogieman."" Dan pursues these terrors with his ""Mighty Pencil,"" drawing a fire engine and squirting them into submission with a hose. Armed with the magic pencil (which, next to Harold's purple crayon, seems a pedestrian picture-book device), Dan never seems to be in danger. In any event, the unsuspenseful plot is secondary to the illustration process. The seven-year-old contributes the initial drawings in these collaged spreads; the father supplies the rest. Daniel Kamish's wildly awkward line-drawings are recognizable as child's art, with their snaggly teeth, sticks for limbs and imprecise circles for heads and feet. David Kamish adds crayon textures and airbrush-slick colors that stay neatly within the boundaries; various pictures allude to Van Gogh's Starry Night, Munch's The Scream, etc. The results are dubious at best--a chaotic-looking book that smacks of self-consciousness, its alleged freshness compromised by adults' heavy hands. Ages 5-8. (July)
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