It’s almost Halloween, and Monster needs to decide what he’s going to
be. With so many options—a fireman, a ballerina, a cowboy, a ninja—how
will he ever decide?
In this playful, rhyming story, Monster shows young readers that
sometimes being creative and daring to try something new are the best
What to wear for
trick-or-treating? The perennial dilemma stumps Monster, who takes
costume suggestions from a helpful boy, who narrates this rhyming tale.
Czajack tells the story in rollicking verse that propels readers
through a trial-and-error process. Grieb’s Monster is an oversized
fellow with yellow striped horns, a significant underbite and a generous
tuft of purplish hair. Accommodating such a figure, with his big feet
and long tail, is a challenge. The boy throws out many ideas. “I said to
Monster, ‘Do you know what kind you’d want to wear?’ / An astronaut? A
fireman? / A giant Bartlett pear?” But Monster changes his mind quite a
bit, first wanting to be a cowboy, then a ballerina and then a ninja.
When Monster imagines what he will look like in these costumes, the
illustrator switches to black-and-white images. Kids will grin at the
huge 20-gallon hat, the exhausting dance moves and Monster’s complete
incompetence at stealth. Disheartened, Monster mopes and then has a
brilliant idea moments before the pals set off to go trick-or-treating.
The mash-up of the previous costumes recalls a solution many a young
reader would make and results in a most successful Halloween night.
Given the jaunty flow of the story and the humorous details on every
page, put this at the top of the list for unscary options come October. (Picture book. 3-6)
First-timers Czajak and Grieb pair up for a gently funny story about a
boy and his furry blue monster, who can’t decide what to wear for
Halloween. Three options tickle Monster’s fancy, but none lasts for
long: after donning a tutu and pirouetting around the family kitchen,
“He kept on dancing, day and night, until his feet were sore./ But then
he didn’t want to be a dancer anymore.” Czajak’s rhymes give the story
energy and humor, as do Grieb’s digital caricatures, which emphasize the
comedy of Monster’s cowboy ambitions and attempts to be a stealthy
ninja—not easy when “he’s nearly nine feet tall.” Outside-the-box
thinkers should enjoy the lighthearted ending, as Monster proves that
sometimes one costume isn’t enough. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)