Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie

Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie

by Judy Sierra

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Thelonius Monster once swallowed a fly, and decided that flies would taste grand in a pie. That silly guy!

Judy Sierra’s funny read-aloud romp presents a monster that children will love as he makes a goo-filled crust, lures hundreds and thousands of succulent flies into it, and invites his “disgusting-ist” friends and


Thelonius Monster once swallowed a fly, and decided that flies would taste grand in a pie. That silly guy!

Judy Sierra’s funny read-aloud romp presents a monster that children will love as he makes a goo-filled crust, lures hundreds and thousands of succulent flies into it, and invites his “disgusting-ist” friends and relations to a gala fly-pie party. “How it glistens! And listen—it hums!” shout the ravenous monsters. But just as his guests are about to dig in—the pie flies off. “Bye, bye, fly pie.”

Judy Sierra’s story in rhyme begs to be read aloud during Halloween season or any season, and Edward Koren’s signature hairy monsters capture all the humor of this deliciously gross tale.

Editorial Reviews

Hungry for fly pie, "Thelonius Monster concocted a goo of molasses and sugar and honey and glue, and he rolled out a crust of astonishing size." After filling his unusual pastry with flies hard-earned through Dumpster diving and hanging around animals (phew!), Thelonius eagerly prepares this nasty dish for his monster guests -- but the flies have another idea in mind. The delectably distasteful topic will prove irresistible to children and, set to Sierra's lively verse, palatable to even the most squeamish adult. The piece de resistance? Quirky pen-and-ink illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Koren. (Ages 4 to 6)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Publishers Weekly
With its outre humor and delectable black-and-white cartoon illustrations (with just a touch of lime green), this "revolting rhyme" fits squarely in the tradition of "poop fiction" and will undoubtedly appeal to the Captain Underpants crowd. Unlike the proverbial little old lady who swallowed a fly, Thelonius Monster decides that the scrumptious fly he has eaten "would taste grand in a pie." From that point on, Sierra's (Wild About Books) silly rhyme grows more and more deliciously repulsive, but Koren's (Very Hairy Harry) endearing shaggy monsters leaven the half-baked tale with just the right amount of deadpan humor. He characterizes the hero as an earnest fly-collector, "stealthily follow[ing] a horse and a dog and a cat and a cow... and spen[ding] several hours near a pile of manure." At least "eleventeen ravenous monsters" carrying pitchfork-sized forks rumba around the unbaked fly pie that glistens with hundreds of stuck green-winged specimens ("perhaps they'll die," warns the text). Just as the monsters prepare to dig in, the flies levitate the giant pie until ("by a stroke of incredible luck") their feet become unstuck. The uneven font size cleverly helps to coach inexperienced readers for a dramatic read-aloud. Despite a topic that may be too monstrous for some, Koren's outstanding illustrations should be seen by all. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-An incomparable rhymester has teamed up with a master cartoonist to conjure up some haute cuisine-on the fly. The tune for "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" is likely to echo in children's minds as they listen to the words of "Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie," in which an earnest monster chef intends to swallow "hundreds and thousands of succulent flies." After obtaining some helpful hints from a spider via e-mail, Thelonius creates a sticky crust, gathers flies, attaches them to the crust, and invites "eleventeen ravenous monsters" for dessert. The resulting creation is a thing of beauty: the flies hum, they sparkle, they play orchestral music. And, alas, they fly away. Thelonius has forgotten to bake the pie, and off it goes. The words are carefully chosen: "Up, up the staircase/it whirred and it whined/with all of the monsters galumphing behind./It whizzed out the window./It whooshed to the sky./Bye-bye, fly pie!" Koren's illustrations, done in black, white, and green, are perfectly fused with the story. Children will love the illustrated jokes, such as pie flies singing and playing instruments while monsters dance around them, holding a pie cutter. The scruffy style gives all the characters a cheerful, easygoing beatnik look that is enormously appealing, and the layout is perfectly suited to the text and illustrations. A lovable and entertaining work of art.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sierra takes a romping, rollicking rhyme to recount an amazing and vastly amusing culinary adventure. Intrigued by the taste of fly, the Thelonius the monster emails a spider ("a savvy insider") about technique, makes a huge and sticky crust and goes forth to gather flies. (Sierra's rhymes are fabulous, even to rhyming "sewer" and "manure.") Thelonius invites "eleventeen monsters" to partake, but since he's neglected to bake it, the pie buzzes and then takes off, the flies' feet come unstuck and the crust lands to be deliciously devoured and praised by all-including the grateful flies. Koren's irresistible and irrepressible monsters appear in their traditional black and white, with touches of acid green (the text and the flies' wings are also in green). The pictures are as full of humor as the text: Thelonius uses both a computer and a quill pen; the flies stuck to the crust form an orchestra and chorus before they take off, and the signage is hilarious. Brimming with read-aloud possibilities, and not a single fly was injured in the performance of this tale. (Picture book. 3-8)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.15(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Judy Sierra is the author of Wild About Books which was a New York Times #1 picture book best seller and the winner of the 2005 E.B.White Read Aloud Award, given by the Association of Booksellers for Children. The author lives in Castro Valley, California.

Edward Koren has published nearly 1,000 cartoons in The New Yorker magazine. He has illustrated How to Eat Like a Child by Delia Ephron, A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle, and Pet Peeves by George Plimpton.The illustrator lives in Brooksfield, Vermont.

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