cover image The Lost Boy and the Monster

The Lost Boy and the Monster

Craig K. Strete. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22922-0

Strete's (They Thought They Saw Him) unremarkable tale with dramatic artwork introduces Old Foot Eater, a monster whose diet consists of ""little children's feet."" The beast hangs a sticky rope from a tree to ensnare the feet of unsuspecting young passersby. Wandering near the monster's tree one day, a lost boy ""who had no name"" encounters a rattlesnake and a scorpion. Both are amazed that the child does not harm them (""Aren't you going to beat me with a stick?"" each asks the boy) and each in turn thanks the boy ""for letting me be me."" The creatures repay the boy's kindness when his feet get caught up in the monster's rope, and they help to set him free. Johnson and Fancher (My Many Colored Days; The Frog Prince, Continued) use mixed media to create paintings that seem at once sophisticated and primitive. Featuring a palette of tawny earth tones, the artists incorporate a top border filled with symbols from cave paintings and Southwestern petroglyphs. A particularly theatrical spread shows the boy dangling upside-down against a backdrop of the monster's face. As accomplished as the artwork is, however, it cannot carry the thin story line. Ages 4-8. (May)