The Beastly Visits

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Modarressi (The Parent Thief; The Dream Pillow) tries to assuage monster-under-the-bed fears by making the legendary creature a kindly, amiable sort. Newton, a lavender-striped youngster with hair like blades of grass, a protruding forehead and two beady, wide-spaced eyes, wishes to befriend a human boy named Miles. He sneaks through a trap door, then makes a classic (and hilarious) move: "Gently, he poked Miles's foot as it dangled over the side of the bed." In her most evocative spread, Modarressi zooms in for a close-up of Newton's tentative expression, then of Miles's amazed stare, allowing readers to compare monster and human facial features. The author/artist avoids taking the invisible-friend route once Miles and Newton become playmates; Newton boldly ventures into daylight, where he learns that Miles, too, is an outcast of sorts. The conclusion, however, is both banal and unlikely: Newton overcomes a playground bully, winning the admiration of human children for himself and for Miles. Modarressi has established a unique and haunting style of watercolor illustration, using muted earth tones like creamy white, mossy green and rich reddish-brown. Yet her narrative lacks the inventive depth and eerie charm of her previous efforts. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2In this awkwardly plotted tale of interspecies friendship, Newton, a lonely young monster, invites a boy to visit him and his parents underground. Miles accepts, and a relationship develops. Miles puts off introducing Newton to his friends and parents until the monster follows him to a playground one day and helps drive off a bully. Presto, instant popularity for the monsterespecially on Halloween. The story's cartoonish arbitrariness and terse language clash severely with Modarressi's smoothly contoured, subtly shaded forms; artfully modeled faces; and muted, creamy colors. The monsters, with peg teeth under bulbous brows and pipestem limbs protruding from swollen, waddling bodies, are so repellent that young readers are unlikely to buy Newton's quick acceptance of them. Many books play on similar themes in a more believable way; next to Mercer Mayer's There's a Nightmare in My Closet (1968) or Edward and James Marshall's Space Case (1980, both Dial), for instance, The Beastly Visits seems flat and routine.John Peters, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Modarressi (The Parent Thief, 1995, etc.) introduces two hopefuls: Newton, a benign monster who lives in the subflooring, and Miles, a friendless fellow who resides in the house above. Newton spies on Miles but hesitates to introduce himself. He, too, is retiring by nature. Newton's parents urge him to get to know the boy, so Newton gathers courage and makes Miles's acquaintance. They become fast pals until Newton starts asking about Miles's other friends. On his own, Newton discovers that Miles has no other friends and is being bullied by a neighborhood tough. Newton confronts the hoodlum, who threatens him until Miles steps in. No lessons here, except that buddies should be steadfast and true. Still, the story provides solace, particularly in Modarressi's illustrations; they project a wistfulness with which more than a few children will be able to identify.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531088807
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.33 (d)

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