Adults and savvy young readers may recognize the influence of Seuss in this collection of poems. While Shortsleeve's rhymes and rhythmic scan are less sure than the master's, he rounds up a far-out clan of creatures that go bump in the night (and day) in this baker's dozen. His monsters range from everyday bogeymen such as the thieving Three-toed Albanian Snoring Sock Bat ("if in your dresser a nest is constructed,/ Keep count of your stockings so none are abducted") and the Whichwayawawa who can't decide on his destination at the ticket counter ("This scene can go on for a very long time,/ Making life rather grim for the next one in line"), to more alien beings (or are they?) like the Thumple-Haired Land Ants ("found only on Mars") who grab the whole family, "Fly down to Earth and rent an RV,/ Pull up at your door, and demand to have tea." First-timer Austin's illustrations have a surreal edginess, both in the style, typified by elongated shapes, skewed angles and contorted shadows, and in the intriguingly irradiated palette in shades of vermilion, Day-Glo yellow and black-light green (his three-headed "Ralph, Ed, and Joe" sporting a "Kiss the Cook" apron is a highlight). Despite the fact that readers are set up for a scare, silliness, rather than spookiness, prevails; the all-out goofiness may be a bit forced at times, but young readers will likely be entertained. Ages 6-10. (Sept.) FYI: Children can enter a nationwide contest by submitting a drawing of a monster reading a book; the winning illustration will be printed on a special bookmark, and the winner will receive a library of Peachtree titles, along with an autographed copy of 13 Monsters. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"How do you do? I'm Professor LeGrand, Of LeGrand University, The world's foremost expert On monster diversity. Pay careful attention to my Lecture this morning, Take meticulous notes, And remember this warning. I have worked forty years on this neatly typed list Of mischievous monsters whose natures consist Of conduct I best can describe here … more