We Found a Monster

DC Comics. Jan. 2021. 160p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781779500526.
Gr 4-7–Sixth grader social outcast Casey Clive is obsessed with monsters, but after his mom died last year, he doesn’t have anyone with whom to share his passion. Casey spends most of his free time drawing, taking care of, or hanging out with the secret monster friends who live in his house, hidden from his somewhat hands-off father. One day, there’s a new, equally peculiar girl at school, Zandra Rivas, and Casey is surprised to learn that she knows a thing or two about monsters. Together, they must outwit the evil monster collector Faust and his monster-capturing robot. The story takes the form of an illustrated diary, straddling the line between comic and illustrated novel. Some pages are text-heavy, with copious paragraphs of narrative, but the writing isn’t overly complex. The pages look like blue-lined notebook paper and feature lettering that mimics handwriting, while the illustrations appear to be rendered in color pencil. Much of the story eschews the use of traditional paneling, though panels are used throughout. The characters are authentically youthful; classmates bully Casey, but the focus is on Casey’s friendships, including the burgeoning bond between Casey and Zandra. The monsters are little-known mid-20th-century DC characters (She-Bat, Topo, Spot). Casey is white, Zandra has a darker complexion and a Spanish surname, and art teacher Ms. Kindle is Black.
VERDICT Sweet rather than scary, this tale of loyalty and friendship is sure to delight fans of supernaturally silly stories that avoid full horror.

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