15 June 2011

What's For Dinner?

I had high hopes for Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan. The cover art is interesting and the title definitely makes you look twice. Especially if you are the parent of a whiny child. So it came home in the stack of new books the other week.

Unfortunately, I think this is a book adults will appreciate much more than the children will. Or maybe just much more than my child did. It even fell a little flat for me, and I like quirky, off-beat children's books.

The illustrations are simple, which can be a good thing in kiddie lit. Detailed pictures, with a lot happening on the page can add a lot to the story, but sometimes they get distracting. Simplicity in the illustrations is refreshing. The story is set up to grab your attention as you wonder what will actually happen to the children at the monster's hands. But through the bumblings of the monsters you (or at least we) stopped caring about the children. So when they finally escaped because the monsters were too busy arguing about how to cook them, it was rather anti-climatic. (Sorry if I spoiled that important plot point for you -- but, in case you didn't know, kids do not get eaten in children's books these days.)

There are some who will love this book, most reviewers do. If I had read it on my own, rather than with Isaac, I would probably have a more favorable impression. But we read it the same night we read More Bears, so its understated humor and black and white pictures just didn't have a chance. I really want to like this book, though, so we may give it another try in a few weeks.


  1. I'll bet if Roald Dahl wrote it at least a few children would have been eaten. Ah, the good old days.