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Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli: 05/03/10
Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli was nominated for a Cybils award in the Fiction Picture Book category. The monsters on the cover are in a similar style to how my own monstrologists draw monsters so I checked out a copy from the library.
A pair of monsters are in a restaurant that is only serving broccoli. They complain bitterly that monsters don't eat broccoli and go on to describe all the things they'd rather eat. That list includes things like cars, rocket ships, boulders, buildings and so forth. The illustrations are colorful, outlandish and fun.
All in all my kids loved the book until the very last page. See on the last page the monsters are no longer monsters and the trees are no longer trees. They are children and the trees are broccoli. Sure there are some cute graphic matches between the monster world and the real world to show how their imaginations created the monster world but to my children, the ending felt like a cop-out. They wanted the monsters to stay monsters regardless of whether or not they learned to eat broccoli.
If you want to learn more about the decision to make the story about monsters being stand-ins for children reluctant to eat broccoli, I suggest reading the interview of Barbara Jean Hicks on Terry Pierce's blog. Having read the explanation of the creative process, I'm left feeling less negative towards the book than I originally did. The gist of the interview is this: the illustrations were planned for a pop-up book that never came to fruition. The publisher hired Hicks to repurpose them for a picture book. She saw the broccoli like trees the monsters and was inspired to make the book about healthy eating in a round-about way.
Comment #1: Tuesday, May, 4, 2010 at 23:33:56
My son would go bonkers for this one! I'm definitely going to have to check into it! Thanks for the fantastic review! Brocolli & monsters are both favorites in our house.
Comment #2: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 22:42:33
If your son likes the monsters in this book, I highly recommend Scary Party which is written and illustrated by Sue Hendra.
Comment #3: Thursday, May, 6, 2010 at 13:40:45
Thanks for the other recommendation! More monster recommendations are always welcome! :o)
Comment #4: Friday, May 7, 2010 at 18:06:34
I've read and reviewed so many... more than I can possibly list here. Maybe I should do a blog post to highlight them all. What do you think?
Comment #5: Saturday, May, 8, 2010 at 04:57:19
The monsters look cute on the cover! I bet the illustrations inside are pretty. I'm glad you and your children enjoyed this book!
Comment #6: Monday, May 10, 2010 at 12:30:45
The illustrations are the best part of the book.