Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Maddie loves all things monsterish. From her breakfast cereal to the games she plays, her sneakers to her favorite color, Maddie saturates her life in monster-themed stuff. It is a love she shares with her dad. When he can, Maddie's dad plays flying saucer games with her, draws scary pictures for her, and bakes monsterish cookies. But lately, he's been very busytoo busy for any of their fun. Maddie decides to use her Build-a-Beast kit to create a dad who won't be too busy for her. Unfortunately, Monster Dad just isn't the same as the real one. He's no good at Hide-and-Eek or flying saucer games. He can't bake, and his drawings are just scribbles. Maybe he is good for one thingscaring Real Dad! All's well that ends well in this story, though; Monster Dad turns back into a toy and Real Dad decides to take a break for play. Every child who's wanted to play with their busy parent and every busy parent who's wanted to play with their child (and doesn't that cover just about everyone?) will find themselves in this story. The illustrations invite readers to take a closer look, and monster movie buffs will be rewarded with themed elements, including a Monster Dog named "Boris" shown next to a "Karloff Chemistry Kit." A delightful romp on the monster side of life, this is a good choice for library and home collections. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
Maddie really loves monsters, a passion that likely stems from the fun she has with her dad, who coincidentally resembles Boris Karloff.
He swings her like a flying saucer and bakes cookies shaped like "the Glob from the Lake." Most impressive is his ability to draw spooky pictures. But lately, Maddie, like many children, finds her dad too busy to spend time with her. After being put off once too often, she turns to her Build-a-Beast kit to "make a new dad." Gibala-Broxholm augments his text with gouache-and-pencil pictures hinting at Maddie's imaginative interpretations of events. She becomes "Maddie Scientist," fiercely wielding scissors and tape while lightning flashes outside. Half of this double-page spread is in full color while the other is in shades of green and gray, reflecting her make-believe mode. This color scheme persists while Maddie brings her creation to life, though he's a bit disappointing compared to the real thing. The pictures come back to full color when Maddie and her monster go to frighten her dad. The door creaks open, and she finds him at work—"finishing up the illustrations for a new monster book." Monster Dad has now shrunk back to a little toy. All ends a bit too well with Maddie and her dad in a "big MONSTER hug!"
While on the bland side, this may be just the right book for time-tapped families. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Maddie and her father love to do scary things (no mention of mom). They play Hide-and-Eek, bake Glob cookies, and draw scary monster pictures. However, Dad has been too busy lately to play, so the child decides to create her own Monster Dad, using her new Build-a-Beast kit. After cutting, pasting, taping, and coloring her creation, she claps together two cutouts of lightning bolts and the monster comes alive. And he is HUGE. They can't play Hide-and-Eek, because he is too big to hide. And his cookies are hard as rocks. He can't draw; he only scribbles. When they decide to wrap themselves in toilet paper and scare her real dad, Monster Dad dissolves into a toy monster. But, as luck would have it, Dad decides to take a break from his work to play with Maddie. When he says no to her request for a puppy, she hauls out her Build-a-Beast kit again. The green-tinged illustrations on spacious white backgrounds are just right. Everything seems scary but not frightening. Maddie and her father have pinking-sheared bangs, Maddie has sneakers that growl and howl, and the monster drawings they make are really funnier than scary. The text and illustrations work together like Boris and Karloff, and the layouts are inspired (some are done from a ghostly viewpoint, flying above the scene below).—Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME