The mother-daughter authors (You Nest Here with Me) introduce a class of monsters taught by a mummy cursed to speak only in verse. Mayhem erupts with the arrival of a new classmate, Tornado Jo, a fuzzy, round being that has a one-word vocabulary: “No!” The lesson of the day is counting lost teeth, and a young vampire is dismayed that he still has both of his fangs, a dilemma that continues as Tornado Jo upends the classroom. The story’s underlying message of accepting and embracing differences surfaces when Jo is revealed to be a much-feared human in costume—“ ‘I get it!’ says Vic. ‘We’re scary, but so is she!’ ” McKinley (the Ready, Freddy! series) doesn’t stint on goofy details: there’s a frog-like female with hissing snakes for hair; a bulbous, polka-dotted creature with corkscrew horns; and a boy whose face is dominated by a single oversized eye. Though riotous pictures provide chuckles, the narrative’s alternating verse and prose makes for a rocky rhythm, and the jumbled story ultimately feels clunky. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2018 Release date: 08/28/2018 Genre: Children's
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