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"The writing reveals just enough, allowing the artwork to fill in the rest of the story. Magoon's whimsical cartoon illustrations featuring rough lines are reminiscent of those in Mo Willems's Leonardo, the Terrible Monster (Hyperion, 2005). This artistic style proves effective in conveying the look of monsters without the frightening attributes. In fact, the art complements humorous tone of the story, and the interplay of text and illustration is such that the book comes across as the product of one mind instead of two. A fun and delightful read for all children who have both a monsterly and a kind side."—SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, August 2010
"The monsters are an inventively designed crew, with a generous and Halloween-friendly helping of horns, protruding pointy teeth, and extra eyes...audiences of little monsters will relish the opportunity to join in on the lurching and grossing out. —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Sept. 2010
"Sauer’s turnabout story of a square peg trying to fit into a round hole isn’t particularly new, but her telling, with just the right amount of repetition and sophisticated vocabulary planted in simple sentences, is winning. Magoon’s monster-hued cartoons pay a little homage to Sendak but also revel in such details as prep-school uniforms and a Monster Moves Class with yoga mats and monster-themed hydration bottles—and Bernadette’s a fanged, horned charmer." - KIRKUS
Posted February 28, 2012
On the outside Bernadette is mostly monsterly. She has point ears, huge eyes, fangs and even a creepy necklace. She can lurch, growl and cause all kind of mayhem. But underneath the fangs and the fur, Bernadette has a deep, dark secret.
Sometimes, when she's all alone, Bernadette likes to pick flowers, and pet kittens, and do all kinds of things that aren't monsterly at all.
When Bernadette starts school all of her classmates act like total monsters but with a few secret weapons and some quick thinking Bernadette should be able to win them over and still get to be herself in Mostly Monsterly (August 2010) by Tammi Sauer and Scott Magoon (illustrator).
Sauer's writing is perfect for reading aloud with built in pauses for suspense and surprises and a lot of humor. Bernadette is a lovable monster who learns that sometimes being different is okay but some concessions might be needed to make friends. The message is never heavy handed or otherwise over the top.
Magoon's illustrations add the perfect blend of creepiness and cuteness to the story to create a book that will be perfect for any monster fans but not too scary for younger readers.
Excellent possibility for a storytime program about being yourself.
Possible Pairings: A Girl and Her Gator by Sean Bryan and Tom Murphy, Bark, George by Jules Feiffer, Presenting . . . Talulah by Tori Spelling and Vanessa Brantley Newton
This book was received for review at Simon and Schuster's Fall 2010 preview in May.