cover image How to Talk Monster

How to Talk Monster

Lynn Plourde, illus. by Mike Lowery. Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-51580-7

As this comics-style story opens, a white child who has just binned a frightening monster book (then checked under the bed) spies an orange critter in the window with gangly arms and three googly eyes. Called in for backup, one parent hammers a “NO MONSTERS ALLOWED” sign in the front yard, but the monster returns almost immediately, seemingly eager to play. Not understanding the exuberant being’s language, the child doesn’t realize that “Goop-Zee-Googy” is in no way threatening; instead, the kid responds first with fear, and then with indignation when the monster rides, and accidentally crashes, their bike. But a little mutual kindness goes a long way, and in bouncy, distilled scenes that exude burgeoning chumminess, the two become co-conspirators in a nonstop, middle-of-the-night adventure, messing around on the bike and swings, and raiding the fridge. They even pick up a little of the other’s lingo: “Zuzzer!” says the human, as the two sit in a tree house and watch the sunrise. “Wow!” the monster agrees. With visual and verbal directness and broad humor that gently tackles themes of assumption and exclusion, Plourde (The Boy Whose Face Froze Like That) and Lowery (Wood Could) capture a special night out—one that may remind readers of their own comics creations. Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Susan Cohen, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June) [/em]