Love Monster and the Perfect Present

illus. by Rachel Bright. 32p. Farrar. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374346485.
K-Gr 2—Rainbows, hearts, stars, and general sweetness abound in this story about Love Monster and his experiences in the aptly named town of Cutesville. While everyone else is getting excited about Present Day, Love Monster is nervous. He wants to give an absolutely perfect gift to his "bestest of friends" but finds that even though the shops have lots of "wonderful, shinyful" things, he doesn't have enough money to buy any of them. Just when he thinks that he will completely disappoint his perfect person, he is inspired to give the kind of gift that money cannot buy. The bold, expressive illustrations (with lots of pink and purple hues), created through solar etching printmaking, are full of brightness and energy, completely matching the story's mood, characters, and setting. Subtle humor apparent in the artwork will appeal to readers young and old. With a timeless message of the importance of friendship and the Love Monster's lesson that something "doesn't have to cost the earth to mean the world," this is a lovely book to share around a holiday or before beginning a crafting project or to recommend to any little ones with concerns about their family's finances.—Whitney LeBlanc, Staten Island Academy, NY
Love Monster wants to give his beloved monster friend a "wonderful, shinyful" present. He can't afford anything store-bought, so he puts together a homemade gift instead: "You see, sometimes the perfect present doesn't have to cost the earth... / mean the world." The book is cloying in places, but humor--especially in printmaker Bright's vibrant etchings--provides some relief.

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