Monsters 101

Doubleday. Aug. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593122808.
K-Gr 2–More faux nonfiction from the author of Unicorns 101. With materials that most readers will associate with fact-based books—table of contents, checklists, facts boxes—this is an introduction to monster lore. Topics such as “Daily Life,” “Monster-Human Interaction,” and “Monster History” cover a wide range of (mostly Western) monsters, from goblins and yeti to vampires and ghosts; and of course, there is no single diet, habitat, or history that fits them all. While Unicorns 101 benefited from the contrast between a dry scientific tone and the humorously exaggerated fabulousness of unicorns, this book includes too many monster types, too superficially, to sustain a good gag. The text uses some advanced vocabulary—“diabolical,” “raunchy”—and assumes substantial prior monster knowledge on the part of the younger readers. In contrast, the art is aimed at very young children, depicting colorful, smiling, googly-eyed monsters that are not scary at all (plus a scant human cast who has a range of body types and skin colors).
VERDICT With an emphasis on the gross over the frightening, and eager reassurances that monsters are “nice if you get to know” them, this is for those who prefer their monsters tame.

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