MOST LOVED MONSTER

Lynn Downey, Author, Jack E. Davis, Illustrator , illus. by Jack E. Davis. Dial $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-2728-1

She may be a monster—literally—but Mama still must deal with a universal problem: sibling rivalry. Her four "little fiends" have brushed their fangs and removed "all ticks and moss," but nitey-nite is no-go until each one gets a satisfactory answer to the question, "Who do you love the most?" Mama wisely points out that while her love has no favorites, each monster is special. What sets Mattie apart, for example, is her politeness: "You always scream out in school and you never raise your hand." Assured that she or he is "my beast," the mollified offspring goes to sleep with a "smile in her heart"—or so Mama thinks; in reality, the children stay up all night planning a tribute surprise party for her. Downey (The Flea's Sneeze ) freshens up a well-worn premise with genial grossness ("I love it when you twist your horns and make your eyeballs pop out"), but Davis's (Marsupial Sue ) domesticated monster portraits owe a debt to Maurice Sendak's Seven Little Monsters TV series. He does, however, add some unique touches with Mama's dragonfly hair clip, roach-patterned lampshades and a slug design on a chair's slipcover. These lovable monsters, happily, won't scare a fly. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/09/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
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