Monster Mama

Monster Mama

4.8 7
by Liz Rosenberg, Stephen Gammell

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Even though she's a real monster, Patrick Edward loves his mom--especially when she uses her powers to tame a trio of young bullies--in this illustrated picture book about the universal love between a mother and her child.  See more details below


Even though she's a real monster, Patrick Edward loves his mom--especially when she uses her powers to tame a trio of young bullies--in this illustrated picture book about the universal love between a mother and her child.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Patrick Edward's mother is a monster--literally. An impish-faced woman experiencing a decidedly bad hair day and needing a manicure, ``Monster Mama'' lives in a cave behind the family house. In addition to her roaring and spell-casting skills, this unique parent bakes cookies, drives Patrick Edward to school in bad weather and nurses him with ``the sweetest touch in the world'' when he is feeling poorly. But when three bullies ruffle Patrick Edward's feathers with a crack about Mama, the boy gets his chance to prove he's his mother's son--roar and all. Rosenberg creates a light mood with her matter-of-fact description of strange circumstances. Any thrill here is derived from curiosity rather than gruesomeness, and youngsters will find comfort in the oddly tender mother-child relationship that permeates the story. Gammell's trademark electric palette and airy, spattered paint technique make for illustrations that crackle with childlike energy. Except for a couple of portraits, many of the scenes are abstract, with some indiscernible shapes and obscured faces. The effect, however, is not distracting, and gives the text a sense of universality. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- ``Patrick Edward was a wonderful boy, but his mother was a monster. She lived in a big cave at the back of the house.'' She may be a monster, yet she has a sweet touch where her son is concerned. She teaches him lots of things and is always there when he needs her most. The nicely paced text maintains the balance between the offbeat and the commonplace. Despite the book's brevity, the characters of both Patrick Edward, a self-sufficient, fearless little boy, and his mother, who is shy and retiring except when roused by necessity, emerge clearly. Gammell's cheery palette and loose, fluid watercolors succeed admirably in creating an atmosphere of mystery and charm. Figures emerge out of multilayer swirls of color, sometimes defined, sometimes just impressionistic, yet recognizable, shapes. Mama is shape-shifting monstrous, but the bright shades of green, yellow, blue, and purple, and the generally benign expressions, make her interesting rather than threatening. The story has humor, suspense, and just a hint of magic to beguile readers. It also has universal appeal as it portrays a warm, supportive relationship between a son and his unique, yet loving, mother. --Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Hazel Rochman
Like Sendak, Rosenberg knows that monsters are both terrifying and glorious. When she's angry, the mother you depend on has the power to lay waste the world. When you need her, she can protect you from every danger. Above all, she can help you to become as splendid and wild as she is. Patrick loves his strange and powerful mother, and when the local bullies insult her, his anger transforms him, and he chases them with glowing eyes and "truly monstrous" laughter. Gammell's splattered paintings in brilliant watercolors and frenetic lines express all the mad energy and transformation of the story. Sometimes the illustrations resemble the ghostly world of cave and darkness, swirling with spiderweb and sinister shadow. But when Patrick stands up to the bullies, he becomes a howling creature of infinite power, his hair like flame, his mouth a demonic scream. With his mother, he overcomes the bullies and brings them home, where they all bake a monstrous, sloshy strawberry tea cake and have second helpings. "Your mother is something else," the boys tell Patrick admiringly. Kids will enjoy the gruesome truth of this uncompromising story, and the love.

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.24(w) x 11.62(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Monster Mama 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic illustration! And, a story that captures my foster son's imagination completely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my absolute favorite books when I was little. I was always captivated by the illustrations. Now that my older cousins are parents I'm so excited to buy this for the kids! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read for children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book back when it came out and I was fresh out of highscool. I was with some friends and told them that this book was awesome and I was going to by it for my son/daughter. Of course, now that the time has come, it's hard as hell to find. I recommend that if you can find it, buy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great story on the theme don't judge a book by its cover. My kids love it. The humor is appreciated by all ages. Just remember to have strawberries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a truly great children's book, with amazing energy in both words and pictures. I consider it a classic, right up there with Where the Wild Things Are. Why on earth doesn't the publisher bring this one back in print?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago