Monday, October 18, 2010

Mostly Monsterly

By Tammi Sauer
Illustrations by Scott Magoon
$14.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages

Bernadette the monster tries to do every creepy thing she's told. But deep down inside, she's just a softie.

The problem is, all the monster kids look down on sweet behavior and expect her to be just like them: gruff and loud and snarly.

In this adorably illustrated picture book, a monster girl discovers she can do nice things, and still be scary and revolting.

But it'll take Bernadette awhile to get there, and as the story opens, she's feeling a lot of pressure to behave badly at Monster Academy.

Most of the time in class, she acts as vile as everyone else: She slobbers and grunts, and keeps up her ghoulish looks.

Her skin is blue-green and sallow, her ears are pointy. She's got fangs, claws, a tail, big possessed eyes, even a skull necklace.

However, when no one is looking, Bernadette finds a quiet place to be nice.

She tiptoes through flowers, sniffs their petals, nuzzles with her cat and even bakes a muffin or two.

Then one day at school, Bernadette decides to take a chance and stop being so dreadful in class, though it doesn't quite go the way she hoped.

Instead of practicing lurching on her mat at school, she tries to pull everyone into a group hug, only to have them back away in horror.

During Creepy Noise Class, Bernadette belts out Love Me Tender and the zombie next to her freaks out and devours her microphone.

Then in Advanced Monster Mayhem Class, she erects a Tinker Toy love monster and the class stands there with their tongues hanging out.

Everyone thinks Bernadette has lost her deranged mind.

So, what's a closet princess to do?

Make something so sweet even a monster can't resist: a batch of cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles!

But instead of gnashing them with their teeth, her classmates storm off and act like total monsters.

Aw come on, you slobbering monster kids, you'd rather have fish heads and cricket legs?

Poor Bernadette.

Maybe if she hacks up something special for them, they'll see that even monsters can be nice.

Magoon makes "hideous" the new adorable in this sweet, simple tale about helping others accept you just as you are.

For Bernadette's cupcake recipe and more about Sauer, click here!

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