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Monday, January 6, 2014

Monsters Eat Whiny Children

Today I am going to write about a Black Whimsy picture book I don't love.  And it is this one:



It is not a bad book, not at all.  I just think it is a bit overlong and the whole of it doesnt *quite* work.  Also the illustrations are odd.  I'm not a big fan of odd illustrations (although if ever a book called for odd illustrations, it's this one!)

The basic plot is this:

You have two children (Eve and Henry) who are going through a WHINY phase.  One day a monsters steals them
(because, as we all know, Monsters EAT whiny children). 

The rest of the book is an ever enlarging group of monsters arguing how they should eat these two whiny children

(Salad! Burgers! Cake! Vindaloo! Cumcumber Sandwiches!).  Finally,

SPOILERS

The whiny children escape out the window and the monsters eat cucumber sandwiches WITHOUT whiny children and Henry and Eve whine much less.  THE END.

It's a cute enough premise and some of the lines are pretty funny. My favorite is this:

"So they got the grill out from the back of the garage,
cleaned it, and tried to make a good fire.  But the
monster couldn't do it, nor his wife, nor his neighbor,
because it's hard to get a fire going sometimes...
Finally they asked the neighbor's cousin to come over since he was good with grills
But he couldn't start a fire either.
So he kicked a hole in the fence."

The writing in general is unique and just a bit affectatious.  Here's how it opens:

"Once there were two perfectly delightful children
who were going through a TERRIBLE phase, which is to say they whined ALL day and night....
Their kindly father warned them that monsters eat whiny children.
They didn't believe him." 

All in all it's not an entertaining enough book, and it's efun the first time one reads it.  It's just not a book that I feel enjoyment from once I've read it multiple times.  It's the type of Black Whimsy you should check out from your library, but not the type I would recommend buying.  I will, however, be watching this author (who evidentally cartoons for the New Yorker and has written for some pretty famous television shows).  It appears his next picture book will be published this year and is called Cousin Irv from Mars.  hmmmmm....

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