cover image The Little Shop of Monsters

The Little Shop of Monsters

R.L. Stine, illus. by Marc Brown. Little, Brown, $17 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-36983-1

In his first picture book, horror maestro Stine reins in the spookiness—but doesn’t abandon it, either. “If you think you’re brave enough, then come with me,” goads an unseen narrator before revealing a pet shop filled with monsters. A boy and girl stare at the creatures in the window: “I hope they don’t break the glass, jump out and EAT you. (Would that spoil your day?)” After the kids enter the store, Stine continues to tweak readers with playfully teasing parenthetical questions and comments. The narrator advises against shaking hands with a warty, green monster named Snacker, who snacks all day. Why? “Do you know his favorite snack food? (That’s right. Hands).” Working in mixed media, Brown humorously matches the creatures’ names and attributes to their physical appearances, creating a raucous crew of horned, clawed, fanged, bug-eyed, winged, scaly, and furry monsters in an array of patterns and colors. Readers looking for friendly, cuddly monsters should shop elsewhere—as Stine ominously reminds readers, “When you come to the Little Shop of Monsters, you don’t choose a monster... a monster chooses YOU!” Ages 3–6. ([em]Aug.) [/em]