Friday, May 2, 2014

Spike the Mixed-Up Monster by Susan Hood, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

I missed this book when it originally came out. I thought "oh, it's just another misunderstood monster" book and didn't take a closer look. This was definitely a mistake, because it's a delightful book with so much more than just a "misunderstood monster" story!

I discovered it when I was reading through Melissa Sweet's works for We Explore Art and Stories. Although this title arrived too late for the program, I will definitely be including it next time!

Spike is pretty sure he's a monster. He's got spikes! a slithery tail! Teeth! Unfortunately, he's a teeny-tiny monster and nobody is afraid of him. But when a real monster wanders by, will Spike run away or will he show his monster grin?

This showcases Sweet's trademark brilliant colors and watercolor/collage art. All the animals, while clearly identifiable, have a magical, fantasy look with the bright colors, cheery grins, and the odd foliage that surrounds them.

What adds to this story and makes it more than just another monster book, is that all the animals are real! Spike is an axolotl, the real monster is a Gila monster, even the duck and the small rodent are specific species. Additional information at the back explains simple facts about each animal. There's also a quick glossary of the Spanish words included in the text.

Verdict: This is a really unique "misunderstood monster" book and one that I wish I'd added back when it was released. If, like me, you missed out, it's happily still in print and it's not too late remedy the error!

ISBN: 9781442406018; Published 2012 by Paula Wiseman/Simon and Schuster; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Added to the library's wishlist

1 comment:

Douglas Florian said...

I got my author-graphed copy when I signed my UnBEElievables at Books of Wonder in New York City a while ago, alongside of Susan Hood and Melissa Sweet. This lovely picture book successfully explains an axototl alot-le, as well as a not-so-monstrous gila monster, all in bilingual fashionista narrative. It's really a muy bien book in my book!