cover image That Monster on the Block

That Monster on the Block

Sue Ganz-Schmitt, illus. by Luke Flowers. Two Lions, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5420-0533-3

A closed-minded monster begins to broaden his perspective as a group of familiar Halloween characters address otherness and tolerance. Monster is eager to meet the creature moving into Vampire’s old house next door, until the new neighbor turns out to be not a fellow monster but a “cartwheeling clown,” complete with red nose and floppy shoes. Expressing his displeasure, Monster quickly tries to rally his neighbors against this affront: “There goes the neighborhood!” The cold shoulder doesn’t faze cheerful Clown, who ingratiates himself to Yeti, Mummy, and Zombie by bringing them treats and inviting them over to “clown around.” With the good times rolling all around him, Monster’s resolve softens, and he starts opening up to making a friend. The proceedings are energetic and fun—with onomatopoeic words and boldly hued digital artwork that toggles between spot illustrations, smaller panels, and spreads—but the book’s tone and Monster’s outlook feel uncomfortable amid real-life problems with redlining and segregation. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)