cover image Who Is Your Favorite Monster, Mama?

Who Is Your Favorite Monster, Mama?

Barbara Shook Hazen. Hyperion Books for Children, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-1810-5

Mama Monster showers affection on Harry, her middle green monster, and even does her best to respond quickly when Harry shouts ""Mamacomenow!"" Nonetheless, Harry feels ""a stab of mad"" whenever he has to share Mama Monster's affections with his older brother, Bruxley, and his baby sister, Bronwen. He asks her, ""Who is your favorite monster, Mama? Who do you love most?"" But Mama cleverly turns the tables: Could Harry choose between his three beloved pets (a mole, a slug and a bat)? Of course not. ""Each is my most favorite because each is frightfully, delightfully different,"" says Harry. ""I love each the most but not the same."" The message hits home, and the little monster is mollified. Children love Halloweenish humor, especially when it offers a skewed perspective on their own domestic life, but some may find this book sweet-natured to a fault. Hazen's (Katie's Wish) few ghoulish references (Bruxley cooks up a frosted fly pie, Brownen makes a painting out of quicksand) get outweighed by the text's rather pedestrian domestic chatter, and Kovlaski's (The Cake That Mack Ate) monsters, despite their green fur and nose warts, are essentially teddy bears. Given the culture's tolerance for creepy, the macabre doings on display here are quite mild-mannered, even by youngest readers' standards. Ages 3-7.