cover image Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie

Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie

Judy Sierra, , illus. by Edward Koren. . Knopf, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83218-5

With its outré humor and delectable black-and-white cartoon illustrations (with just a touch of lime green), this "revolting rhyme" fits squarely in the tradition of "poop fiction" and will undoubtedly appeal to the Captain Underpants crowd. Unlike the proverbial little old lady who swallowed a fly, Thelonius Monster decides that the scrumptious fly he has eaten "would taste grand in a pie." From that point on, Sierra's (Wild About Books ) silly rhyme grows more and more deliciously repulsive, but Koren's (Very Hairy Harry ) endearing shaggy monsters leaven the half-baked tale with just the right amount of deadpan humor. He characterizes the hero as an earnest fly-collector, "stealthily follow[ing] a horse and a dog and a cat and a cow... and spen[ding] several hours near a pile of manure." At least "eleventeen ravenous monsters" carrying pitchfork-sized forks rumba around the unbaked fly pie that glistens with hundreds of stuck green-winged specimens ("perhaps they'll die," warns the text). Just as the monsters prepare to dig in, the flies levitate the giant pie until ("by a stroke of incredible luck") their feet become unstuck. The uneven font size cleverly helps to coach inexperienced readers for a dramatic read-aloud. Despite a topic that may be too monstrous for some, Koren's outstanding illustrations should be seen by all. Ages 4-8. (May)