cover image Thorndike and Nelson

Thorndike and Nelson

DK Publishing, Jean Jackson. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2452-5

Humans' beastly battling is reflected in this formulaic story of two green-scaled, snaggle-toothed monsters. Thorndike and Nelson meet each day for a polite tea of ""bubbling swamp water"" and lemon cakes. But when Nelson's punked-out poodle chews Thorndike's fuzzy pink slipper, the monsters fight like bitter enemies. Thorndike pours Nelson's chocolate-covered lizards down the sink, and Nelson releases Thorndike's 1,128 pet spiders. Their eye-for-an-eye behavior culminates in an emergency that renews the friendship; of course, this means they must undo their ugly retaliatory acts. First-time author Jackson gives the duo a standard monster fascination with creepy, smelly things: Thorndike collects bat wings and Nelson grows a ""prize-winning skunk cabbage patch."" Rosenberry (The Outside Inn) draws the gruesome twosome in fine-line ink and watercolor. She blurs the distinction between people and monsters by dressing the title characters in shirts and shorts, and by setting some scenes in a cobwebby but ordinary house. This tale shows how destructive acts can compound a minor problem, but the result is more humdrum than hilarious. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)