cover image Monster & Son

Monster & Son

David LaRochelle, illus. by Joey Chou. Chronicle, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4521-

Sly interplay between sweet-natured verse and not-so-sweet-natured activities provide mischievous laughs in this monster-themed ode to children from their parents. The parents in question are mythical and supernatural creatures—including ghosts, werewolves, vampires, etc.—that Chou (the B. Bear and Lolly series) renders as simultaneously adorable and destructive in crisp digital artwork with a subdued, creamy palette. The innocuousness of LaRochelle’s (Moo!) gentle rhymes contrasts delightfully with the havoc being wrought. “You woke me with a monstrous roar, my brave and fearless son,” he writes as a dinosaurlike creature smashes a city to bits with his excited morning energy (his parent lies sleeping atop another city across the bay). After a page turn, the rhyme completes (“and led the way that filled our day with rough and rowdy fun”) as sea serpents toss a beach ball back and forth, causing sailboats to founder and sink. A Frankensteinian monster tickles its son with surplus severed hands, dragon laughter sets a castle ablaze, helicopters are tossed asunder; when parents love their child, LaRochelle suggests, nothing else matters. Ages 2–4. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Apr.)