cover image The Monstore

The Monstore

Tara Lazar, illus. by James Burks. S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2017-5

Debut author Lazar takes readers to an underground emporium, the Monstore, which trades in “the most useful monsters, just right for doing tricky things around the house.” Tricky things like handling “pesky little sisters.” However, the monsters that Zach purchases aren’t working as advertised. Instead of scaring Gracie, the enormous, three-eyed, orange-furred Manfred teams up with her to frighten Zach. And because the Monstore’s return policies are none too friendly, Zach purchases more monsters (“Add another,” suggests the wild-eyed shopkeeper. “A monster threesome is more gruesome than a twosome”), all of which wind up tormenting Zach. Readers shouldn’t be surprised that Gracie is delighted, not frightened, by the blobby, tentacled additions to the household—Burks’s (Beep and Bah) colorful creatures are firmly in the scary-cute vein of Monsters, Inc. (in one scene, they use a purple snake monster to jump rope with Gracie). Zach gets a chance to prove himself as a capable older brother, but this story really belongs to Gracie. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June)