This Monster Needs a Haircut

Bethany Barton. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3733-4
Pen-and-ink drawings, black hand- lettering, and helpful explanatory arrows give newcomer Barton’s monster tale the visual feel of a sketchbook. There’s nothing sketchy about the storyline, though—a jaunty voiceover drives it steadily forward. Stewart appears on the first page with an arrow pointing toward him. “Why, hello!” Barton starts. “This is Stewart.” Stewart has a purple body, teeth that would send an orthodontist running for cover, and a green mop of hair. Stewart believes that scary hair is essential for monsters. Readers know he’s going to get a haircut—the fun is in getting there. Moments of comedy (Stewart’s mother sprays his hair with “Super Giant Mega-Detangler”) and serious reflection (Stewart writes an earnest letter to his father: “I like myself just the way I am. Thanks, Dad. Sincerely, Stewart”) alternate as Stewart and his father come to a rapprochement—though it’s the scornful laughter of bystanders that finally pushes Stewart toward the barber. Monster-centered laughs abound, but an atmosphere of civility prevails; Stewart’s family and friends are as calm and supportive as his hair is wild. Ages 3–5. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/28/2012
Release date: 07/05/2012
Paperback - 978-0-8037-3651-1
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