cover image Quit Calling Me a Monster

Quit Calling Me a Monster

Jory John, illus. by Bob Shea. Random House, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-385-38990-7

In this extended monologue from the team behind I Will Chomp You!, a hairy, purple, bean-shaped blob with claws argues that being called a monster—as natural as it might seem—hurts his feelings. “Mommy, save me from that monster!” hollers one child as Shea pictures the monster in the supermarket with his reading glasses on, checking out the Monster Bran. “It’s not like I ever call you names, do I?” the creature asks. He eventually concedes the point (“Okay! I’m technically a monster”) but notes that he would rather be called by name: “Please call me Floyd Peterson from now on.” A final, deadpan flurry of speech balloons demonstrates the difference: “Daddy, I think there’s a monster in my closet!” “No, son, it’s just Floyd Peterson.” “Oh... okay. Good night.” Though this is broadly an examination of fear, it’s also a look at the damage wrought by generalizing. In that last exchange, readers see that calling the monster Floyd brings him closer, makes him known—a friend, almost. It’s not just good comedy but a genuinely thought-provoking exercise. Ages 3–7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)