Reverse psychology tames a young monster's temper in this amusingly told but clumsily illustrated tale. Billy, a pea-green, pointy-fanged fellow, resists nursery school, expressing his displeasure by throwing paints, howling during chorus and stomping around during dance class. Billy's teacher (a blue, horned creature) slyly awards him a star with each ``dreadful, monstrous'' outburst. Puzzled by this reaction, Billy soon settles down and even gets to like the classroom. Though Hutchins (The Very Worst Monster) advocates patience here, youngsters might use Billy's attention-getting behavior as an excuse for scenes of their own. Still, it's clear that the author understands why fearful children can react like monsters to new environments. Less apt are the renderings of the school's none-too-cute assortment of beasties. Hutchins's opaque, garish gouaches lie heavily against clean, white backgrounds, and the characters gesture stiffly. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Fans of The Very Worst Monster (1985) and Silly Billy! (1992, both Greenwillow) will be delighted with Hutchins's latest effort. Young monster Billy is now old enough to attend nursery school, but he doesn't want to go. It takes the combined effort of Ma, Pa, and sister Hazel to pry his little green fingers off the garden gate and drag him there. ``If you're good, you might get a star,'' Hazel tells him. Billy's behavior is predictably awful. He hurls paint pots, hollers abominably during singing, and stamps so hard while dancing that he scares his classmates. But the teacher is not at all dismayed. This is a nursery school for monsters, after all, and Billy's beastly behavior is rewarded with gold stars! By the end of the day, he doesn't want to leave. This tale is sure to strike a familiar chord with many preschoolers. Though the characters sport sharp teeth and long fingernails, their brightly colored faces and big, round eyes enhance the story's rollicking humor. Mouths perk upward in amused amazement at Billy's antics, while he seems to revel in his badness. The sheer number of characters in each scene contributes a sense of bustling, happy chaos. A terrific addition to any going-to-school bibliography or display.-Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library District, IL
If you want to be a good little monster, then the worse you act and the more hideous you look, the better. Billy doesn't want to go to nursery school. When it's time to paint, he flings his pots of paint at the paper and makes a terrible mess--and Teacher gives him a star for the most terrible monstrous painting. When the children sing, he gets a star for making the most dreadful monstrous noise. And when they dance, he's absolutely frightful, so he earns another star. Kids will love the joking reversal and the hideous, garish monster pictures in neon colors. As with Hutchins' other picture books about Billy, the joy is in the slapstick and the mischief and the power of the small raging monster who is loved without question.