The Night the Scary Beasties Popped Out of My Head

Daniel Kamish, Author, David Kamish, Author, David Kamish, Illustrator Random House Books for Young Readers $14 (40p) ISBN 978-0-679-89039-3
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)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 978-0-676-76789-6
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