Anzu the Great Kaiju

Roaring Brook. Jan. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250776129.
K-Gr 2–Anzu, like all kaiju, is born with a superpower and in general, these strike fear into the hearts of anyone nearby. But Anzu’s gifts live in the realm of flower power. When he comes of age and is given his city (Godzilla had Tokyo), his parents instruct him in the ways of the kaiju: Summon storms, shake the earth, create havoc. But Anzu’s storm becomes a shower of leis, and his earth-moving results in a dazzling playground. What is wrong with this monster? His city folk love him, but his parents are so disapproving that the ancestral matriarch is summoned. Thing get scary. But Anzu is so unhappy with who and what he has become that he relapses into his happy-making, danger-shaming celebration of being himself. The residents of Anzu’s city love him with far more power than they could have imagined, and that results in a seriously happy ending. It’s a pleasure to see the monster myth once again turned on its head. The vocabulary paves the way for beginning readers, and cheerful cartoons and comic panels offer an easy path to what’s next.
VERDICT Spoiler alert: Goofy, loving monster makes good on his proclivities for joy, and wins his parents’ approval along the way. It’s a triumph, all right.

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