cover image I Will Chomp You!

I Will Chomp You!

Jory John, illus. by Bob Shea. Random, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-385-38986-0

It’s by now a familiar metafictive device—the bully inside the book who threatens readers with certain doom. “If you turn any more pages... I will chomp you, buster!” growls a blue monster that Shea (the Dinosaur vs. series) gives massive jack-o-lantern jaws and menacing charcoal eyebrows. He isn’t too scary, though. For one thing, a rabbit, frog, and bird hover close to the monster’s jaws and—like readers—escape every “Chomp!” “Well, I missed,” admits the monster. “But I won’t miss again.” Halfway through, he fesses up: “You’re probably wondering why I’m so eager to chase you away. Can you keep a secret? It’s because I have all my cakes back here, at the end of the book.” Tempting descriptions and appetizing pictures à la a 1950s dessert cookbook follow: “Cakes with sprinkles. Cakes with chocolate.” There’s more desperate chomping as the monster obliterates his stash before readers can get to it. Nothing’s as fun as the dopey evildoer who can’t win, and John’s (Goodnight Already!) comedy makes this a surefire read-aloud for any crowd of cake-lovers. Ages 3–7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)