SAUNDERS, Rob. illus. by Dan Santat. 48p. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481457798. POP
PreS-Gr 2—Ah, toddlers—those cherubic faces, squishy bellies, and chubby legs! Parents can't help but want to love and kiss them. But toddlerhood is full of many messy parts. The diaper odors, the drool and vomit, and the mercurial mood swings. Sanders and Santat convey the messiness, impulsivity, recklessness, and joy of toddlerhood by creating a toddler/monster named Rodzilla. Rodzilla is a bright green combination of a dinosaur, Godzilla, King Kong, and a toddler, and he is out to wreak havoc on his city. Rodzilla roars his rage, shoots stink-rays, hurls an attack of yellow gunk, and belly flops before accidentally pricking his finger while climbing a tall tower. The resulting tears cause a flood and prompt the arrival of the heroes of our tale—Mom and Dad. As Rodzilla calls out to his parents, he changes from a huge green monster to a happy little toddler who has merely been playing with his toys and creating a giant mess in his living room. Kids will gravitate to Santat's marvelously clever and animated illustrations; they capture perfectly the changing emotions of Rodzilla, and the expressions on the faces of the fleeing civilians (later revealed to be just toys) are hysterical and priceless. The vibrant colors are just right for the story of a toddler/monster who is alternatively destructive and tearful.
VERDICT An engaging and humorous picture book for young children and their parents to share together.

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