cover image Monster Mayhem

Monster Mayhem

Christopher Eliopoulos. Dial, $14.99 (216p) ISBN 978-0-7352-3124-5

Zoe has trouble making friends, but she excels at inventing robots and getting lost in classic monster movies. When she stumbles upon a magic ring, it summons a giant, building-eating monster, nicknamed “Chomp,” to be her friend. It also calls to Chomp’s pals, who begin to arrive and cause widespread destruction until Zoe, her classmates, her robot assistant, and her new monster friend find a way to protect the city. Through her confrontation with the monsters, Zoe makes friends and learns what it means to trust and collaborate with others. Cartoon art by Eliopoulos (the Ordinary People Change the World series) renders the monstrous antagonists menacing but not entirely terrifying, while Chomp is round and friendly looking, with a protruding lower tooth. This fun, relatable tale captures how children can lose themselves in interests to distract from feelings of loneliness and isolation. While the story occurs in the same universe as Eliopoulos’s Cosmic Commandos, it also works perfectly as a standalone. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)