April 21, 2014
The Monster who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber, illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds
The Monster who Lost His Mean
by Tiffany Strelitz Haber
illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds
Henry Holt and Company
In addition to eating eyeball soup, there are certain traits that every monster has in common:
Each monster has a custom-made set of these letters, M-O-N-S-T-E-R, to remind him of these traits. One day, a monster’s M disappeared. The other monsters started calling him the Onster, teasing and taunting.
Without his Mean he no longer fits in and the Monsters make sure he feels it. In tears, he heads off in search of his missing M. He looks at home, on the playground and even in garbage cans. His M is nowhere to be found. Without his mean, what is he?
No longer able to be mean to the human children, he finds himself playing with them instead. Soon, he’s tearing up the basketball court with his new team and realizes he doesn’t miss his mean all that much afterall until he hears the other monsters making fun of him and his friends. Maybe he should fake it? But each time he comes up with a wicked plan, he leaves it behind for something more fun instead.
Just as he realizes that he no longer fits in with his old life and his old friend, something fabulous and new comes his way.
Clearly, this is a not-so-subtle anti-bullying story, but the wonderful thing is that the message, so clear to the adult, it hidden behind the story. Kirstie Edmunds digital illustrations give the reader a host of big, brightly colored, slightly goofy looking monsters. Even when they’re being mean, they don’t look super scarey.
There are all kinds of little details that young readers will want to look for like the dachshund and the owl. The ick factor (eyeball soup) will appeal to young readers both for the shudder it gives readers but also the giggle.
Pick this one up for storytime and classroom use.