Friday, September 14, 2007

Monster Identification Society, No Moms Allowed

My son, the Budza, has started a Monster Identification Society with his second grade buddies. The Guide has an FBI advisory notice inside the front cover, a stern warning to non-members not to turn the page. My husband has his MIDFCT (Budza's acronym for the club) card, and has been priveleged to see the monsters identified thus far. As for me, until I rate, I have to make do with Judy Sierra's Gruesome Guide to World Monsters. It features the wonderfully weird artwork of Henrik Drescher--tapping right into the 7 year old's fascination with the alien, the monstrous, the gruesome and grisly. The colors are lurid, the art reminiscent of Leonard Baskin at his darkest (see Ghosts? Did You Say Ghosts? by Richard Michelson) but with a gleeful jolt of anarchic European circus sensibility: world turned upside down. Be sure to check out Drescher's magnificent The Boy Who Ate Around, in which a boy eats everything except his dinner: his parents, the school, the White House, the Earth--a book that taps into the kid psyche in ways that delight kids and make parents squirm. And, while we're on the subject of monsters and mothers, it's worth tracking down a copy of Liz Rosenberg's Monster Mama with great illustrations by Stephen Gammell.

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