The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit

The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit

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by Chris Wormell
     
 

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ONCE IN A cave, lived a horrible ugly monster. Perhaps the most horrible and ugly monster in the world. . . .

So ugly is the monster that he can turn a blue sky to snow and evaporate a pond just by dipping his toe in it. No living thing can stand to be in his presence. But the monster is not ugly on the inside; he’s just lonely. So he decides to build

Overview

ONCE IN A cave, lived a horrible ugly monster. Perhaps the most horrible and ugly monster in the world. . . .

So ugly is the monster that he can turn a blue sky to snow and evaporate a pond just by dipping his toe in it. No living thing can stand to be in his presence. But the monster is not ugly on the inside; he’s just lonely. So he decides to build some friends out of stone, but even stones can’t stand the full force of the monster’s smile, and they all shatter . . . except for one.

From the innovative author-illustrator Chris Wormell comes the story of a monster whose inner beauty will touch readers of all ages.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wormell makes a departure from the linoprint-style artwork of his An Alphabet of Animals for this didactic tale centering on a hideous creature, so repellant that all of nature flees his presence. An omniscient narrator cautions readers to "be careful when you turn the page," where the first of several extreme close-ups of the monster awaits. The fellow resembles a cross between Yoda and a Sendak beast, covered in wrinkles, warts and scraggly bristles, with one jutting yellow snaggletooth. The text then begins a series of "He was so ugly that..." repetitions ("all the animals and birds ran and flew away," "all the flowers dropped their petals and the trees shed their leaves," etc.). Even when he decides to create animal friends from rocks, "the monster was so ugly that when he smiled, the stone animals cracked and shattered." All except one rabbit. Its presence fills the monster with joy, but the bleak message to readers is that the ugly fellow is destined to spend his days with no living companion, and after the monster dies, "that very day the sun came out and green grass began to grow," as if the earth itself were celebrating the ugly hero's passing. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Beauty is a trait that is found not only in a physical sense, but in a philosophic sense as well, as readers will see in this beautiful story about a monster who was so ugly that nothing, not even stone, could handle being in his presence. Out of despairing loneliness, the monster begins carving statues for company, but they all crumble to pieces with the exception of a rabbit he made. This rabbit—quiet, serene, and nearly faceless—makes the monster happy on a level he had never known. He enjoys a beautiful new life of dancing, singing, and playing amongst the barren land that surrounds him, with only his stone rabbit to keep him company. The story takes a surprising twist as the monster grows older and more ugly, and the rabbit stays the same: always listening and being there for the monster. The imaginative illustrations throughout will make this a great book for sharing and reading aloud, and has a perfectly gentle tone for bedtime reading. 2004, Alfred A. Knopf, Ages 5 to 8.
—Cherie Ilg Haas
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The premise of this story is a bit troubling. The omniscient narrator tells readers that once there was a big monster that lived in a cave. He was so ugly that birds and animals fled, the grass withered, and the trees shed their leaves in his presence. His supreme ugliness left him with only the rocks for company. This much-misunderstood, lonely creature began to craft animals out of stone, but they cracked to pieces when he smiled upon them. That is, all except a small stone rabbit that for some unknown reason survived and kept the monster company into his dotage. The rabbit keeps a silent vigil even after the monster's death and remains as his former environs morph into "perhaps the most beautiful place in the whole world." The fact that the monster is such a pitiable, benign character who is cruelly isolated due to his perceived ugliness is very sad indeed. His home's rebirth into lush splendor only after his death strikes an additionally tragic note. This tale may cause children to reflect on the unfairness of judging and rejecting others based on their physical attributes, but the lack of a positive resolution during the monster's lifetime also sends a somewhat hopeless message. The color illustrations portray a rather engagingly hideous creature with hidden charms and depths. So much so that children may be left to wonder what all the fuss was about regarding the monster's ugliness.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Like The Giving Tree but without the self-sacrifice, this simple tale of a stone bunny that serves as surrogate friend to a hideous, lonely monster offers both an affecting parable and a chewy metaphor. So ugly is the cave-dwelling creature that animals flee, plants die, and weather turns bad at his appearance. When he smiles, rocks shatter-except, to his delight, a small rabbit that he's just carved, which is unaffected and so becomes a lifelong companion. After the monster's death, he is forgotten, but the rabbit remains, as the devastation around the cave gradually becomes a natural beauty spot. Despite a warning, the trollish monster's full-page, full-face onset may startle younger readers; in subsequent scenes, however, his lonesome, benign inner nature comes through clearly enough that he ultimately becomes more pathetic than frightening. So is this a rebuke to those who judge by appearances? An observation on the immediate and enduring pleasures of art? A sympathetic character portrait? Wormell suggests no explicit moral or intention, so the episode is bound to have different meanings (or none) to different readers. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375828911
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/14/2004
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.56(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Wormell was awarded the Ragazza Prize at the Bologna Book Fair in 1991. He is the author-illustrator of the Blue Rabbit books and The Animal Train. The author lives in England.

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The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago