Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
  • Alternative view 1 of Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
  • Alternative view 2 of Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
  • Alternative view 3 of Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
  • Alternative view 4 of Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
  • Alternative view 5 of Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
<Previous >Next

Spike, the Mixed-up Monster

by Hood,Susan
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Meet Spike, a lovable monster—and a real-life salamander—who’s looking for friends in this lively picture book that includes Spanish vocabulary.

Spike is a scary-looking salamander who keeps trying to frighten other animals—until he finds that using fear is not the best way to make friends. And since Spike lives in Mexico (he is an

Overview

Meet Spike, a lovable monster—and a real-life salamander—who’s looking for friends in this lively picture book that includes Spanish vocabulary.

Spike is a scary-looking salamander who keeps trying to frighten other animals—until he finds that using fear is not the best way to make friends. And since Spike lives in Mexico (he is an endangered species called the axolotl), this story is peppered with easy-to-understand Spanish words. In addition to a charming tale of friendship, this picture book contains nonfiction information about the axolotl and a Spanish/English glossary.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Odd-looking little Spike, who lives in a pond in Mexico, is a fierce monster in his own mind. But to everyone else in his ecosystem, Spike is a harmless cutie-pie (he’s actually an axolotl, an endangered Mexican salamander). El pato (a duck) calls him “my funny little fish face,” While el campañol (a vole) says, “You’re almost as adorable as me!” They all change their tune, however, when Spike stands up to a real monster—a Gila monster, to be precise—although readers know that the two creatures actually part ways as amigos. Unfortunately, this story of a mixed-up monster is a mixed bag itself. Sweet (Mrs. Harkness and the Panda) has created wonderful watercolor portrayals of every critter (her Gila monster is positively majestic) with one exception: the clunky hero, who never coalesces artistically (his head looks like a big smiley face) or in terms of personality. As for the Mexican setting, Hood (Pup and Hound) doesn’t make much of it except for a sprinkling of mostly familiar Spanish words. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
While Spike, a tiny axolatl salamander, practices being the monster he believes he is, the other animals call him cute and funny because he is small. Will Spike show his true nature? Fully adorned with a slithery tail, a spiky crown and stumpy teeth, Spike displays all his scary moves for his neighbors el pato (cinnamon teal duck), el armadillo and el campañol (Mexican vole). Instead of being terrified, they are charmed by this cutie. "You're almost as adorable as I am!" says el campañol. This book introduces simple Spanish words and names by effortlessly embedding them into the storyline. When the truly terrifying Gila monster arrives on the scene, all the animals cry "¡El monstruo!" and scatter. Spike alone stays to scare the creature off in his own unique way. Vibrant colors and creatures fill the double-spread swamp scenes, which strongly complement the text. Touches of whimsy in the landscape, both unusual and cheery, mimic Spike's personality. Readers of the endnotes might be surprised to see a photo of a real axolatl, smiling very much like the tiny hero. Hood and Sweet succeed admirably in creating a new twist on an identity story while cleverly introducing Spanish words and exotic creatures. (endnote, glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Monsters with big claws, a pointy tail, and gnashing teeth are supposed to be scary. Spike, an axolotl salamander who has all of these attributes, doesn't frighten anyone, because he is no bigger than a lily pad. He is disappointed that his animal friends (el pato, el armadillo, el campañol) laugh at his attempts to terrify them. When a true monstruo arrives, the others run away in fear, leaving Spike to face the Gila monster on his own. He learns that sometimes looking friendly can be more important than looking scary. "More about Spike and His Amigos" provides useful facts and photos of the various Mexican creatures that appear in the story. A list of basic Spanish words and their English translations is also included. Sweet's colorful mixed-media illustrations showcase Spike's emotions in an eye-catching format that is sure to please young readers. The book is a great addition to most collections and would pair well with Mo Willems's Leonardo, the Terrible Monster (Hyperion, 2005) and The Monster at the End of This Book (Golden Bks., 1971) for an entertaining storytime about timid monsters.—Stephanie Rivera, Naperville Public Library, IL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442406018
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
704,160
Product dimensions:
9.42(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD470L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Hood is the author of more than 200 books for children. A former content director of Nick Jr. Magazine and children’s book editor, she has written for parents and early childhood educators in The New York Times, Nick’s ParentsConnect, Sesame Street Parent Guide, Working Mother, and more.

Melissa Sweet has illustrated more than eighty children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor book A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant. She also wrote and illustrated Tupelo Rides the Rails; Carmine: A Little More Red, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; and Balloons Over Broadway, a picture book biography that was named a 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Picture Book. She lives with her family in Rockport, Maine.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >