The Monsters’ Monster

Patrick McDonnell, Author
Patrick McDonnell. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-04547-6
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 09/04/2012
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In the 1931 movie Frankenstein, the monster was capable of kindness and innocence, but the villagers turned on him anyway. McDonnell’s (Me... Jane) monster is even more prone to acts of sweetness and generosity—much to the dismay of his creators. Three runty, bean-nosed monsters named Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom ’n’ Doom (he has two heads) decide to settle their perpetual quarreling about which of them is the meanest by making “a monster monster. The biggest, baddest monster ever!” Like Frankenstein’s monster, theirs has the same flat head, neck bolts, and automaton walk. He’s strong enough to smash castle walls, but he has unexpectedly lovely manners. His first words are “Dank you!” and his first impulse is to hug the little monsters tight. McDonnell’s greatest strength is to explore with tenderness the finest instincts humans show, without making them prissy or maudlin. The monster’s goodness (and some jelly doughnuts) transform the three little monsters in an entirely believable way: “Monster looked at them and smiled. They smiled back.” Another winner from McDonnell—and good Halloween fare, too. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)
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