The Monstore

illus. by James Burks. 32p. S & S/Aladdin. June 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-2017-5; ebook $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4648-9. LC 2010044846.
Gr 2–3—"Knock five times fast, hand over a bag of squirmy worms, and you can crawl inside…The Monstore." Zack is tired of his little sister, Gracie, and goes to the Monstore, where there is a selection of monsters for every troublesome task, to buy a fearsome creature that will keep her out of his room. However, the monster and Gracie team up to scare Zack instead so he tries to get his money back. But the manager insists, "Sorry. No Returns. No exchanges" and bamboozles the boy into buying monster after monster. Unfortunately, none of them works. When Gracie ends up being scared by a tiara and Zack is able to save the day, she leaves his room for good, taking her collection of creatures with her. The cartoon illustrations feature brash colors, googly-eyed monsters with candy-cane-striped elongated arms and legs, and freckles on the glowing faces of the pig-tailed and shaggy-haired young protagonists. The humorous writing includes giggle-worthy lines, such as "Slowly and carefully, Zack rid the room of tiara terror." An assortment of speech bubbles conveys the sound and feeling of the dialogue through growing font sizes. For other suspenseful fare heralding bravery rather than beauty, try Levi Pinfold's Black Dog (Candlewick, 2012) or Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple's Not All Princesses Dress in Pink (S & S, 2010).—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City

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