Need a fun, quick read to get your kids (and you) smiling? Try my favorite monster book:
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (January 1, 1992) Fiction or Non-fiction:Fun, fun, fiction
Theme:Monsters 🙂 Imagination and Conquering Fears
Opening Sentence:“Big, green monster has two, big yellow eyes”
Synopsis:The book takes you page by page introducing the monster and all his scary features. Then you work in reverse through each feature again, telling the monster, “You don’t scare me! So go away scraggily, purple hair” etc. until you come to the fun ending “And don’t come back… until I say so.”
Why I like it: It’s just plain fun (and very short) 😉 I’m also a sucker for books with cut out pages, or moving parts. LOVE THEM. This one is so entertaining with the layering and how it works so perfectly building up the monster, then taking him away again. Simple, but brilliant!
Be prepared to be shocked… authors, even the extremely famous ones , are real people – like you and me. I know, shocking huh? 😉
Honestly though, while I’m glued to my computer for my day job, I enjoy listening to interviews with these real people. Their thoughts are inspiring and motivating – especially if you’re a writer too.
I was capitvated by J.K. Rowling’s interview with Oprah (see below). If you have 45 minutes it’s worth the watch (or listen, like I did). If not, I’ve included links to some other famous childrens author interviews I enjoyed (that are a lot shorter).
Be prepared though – you’ll want to write as soon as you’re done listening. Might want to save some time for that for later.
Beverly was a children’s librarian before becoming an author. She got in to writing because the children weren’t satisfied with the books that were available. She never received a rejection letter – ever!
Lois Lowry dropped out of college and finished after he children were all in school. She never submitted a story formally. She was approached by an editor and asked to try writing a story for children – which turned in to her first novel.
Mike loves his red steam shovel, Mary Anne. Mary Anne loves Mike and loves to work but no one wants an old steam shovel for their jobs anymore. So, when a cellar needs to be dug for the new town hall, Mike and Mary Anne promise they can dig it in just one day! No one believes them, but they show the town that hard work and determination can accomplish the impossible – even without a shiny, new paint job.
I read this book countless times as a child in the 80’s. While the book was old to me then, and is even older to students now – I still think the pencil sketches are timeless – just like the story.
As a kid I got swirled up in the tension of the story. Will they make it? They do, but Virginia doesn’t leave the story at the ‘hip, hip, hooray – you saved the day’ -nope- she takes it a little farther, which is wonderful. My first time hearing the story I was so worried for Mary Anne at the end. How will she get out of the hole she dug? Virginia turning her in to the furnace for the new town hall and showing Mike enjoying his retirement at Mary Anne’s side created an extremely satisfying ending for me.
Take a minute and give it a look. You’ll be glad you did.
I stumbled on this little gem entirely by accident. I was at my mother in-laws house digging through her childrens book for a bedtime story to read my kids. This cover was bright and cute so I picked it (who says kids are the only ones that pick books based on covers?). Instantly I was in love. My poor children had to put up with me asking if I could read it to them over and over. I even snuck it back to my room and read the book a couple more times while they were napping. It’s that delightful.
Synopsis: A little mouse name Chrysanthemum LOVES her unique name, until she starts school. At school the children tease her because she’s named after a flower and her name is so long “it scarcely fits on a name tag.” Every night Chrysanthemum’s parents have to buoy her up with praise, Parcheesi and chocolate cake. Things turn around when her class meets the pregnant music teacher, Ms. Delphinium Twinkle (who just happens to also be named after a flower and has a name that scarcely fits on a name tag). The children idealize Ms.Twinkle and the teasing turns to praise. The books ends with Ms. Twinkle having her baby and naming her Chrysanthemum.
Here’s what entranced me:
This is a phenomenal read-a-loud book. The words skip along with sing-song fluidity. You feel her excitement, worry, relief, right along with her. While many of the words are too difficult for younger readers to read on their own, it is written in a context that make perfect sense to them when read aloud.
I love Kevin Henkes little mice. They’re brightly colored and whimsical – very unique to him. In Chrysathemum he does a wonderful job showing the untold story in the art work. Pay close attention to the illustrations with her parents – such funny details added her and there.
BEST FOR AGES 3-8 – but geez, I’m over thirty and still love it.
BUY IT OR BORROW IT? This is a buy it book! Totally worth the investment.
Have you read Chyrsathemum? Tell us what you think of it.