Book Review: Night of the Veggie Monster
I can relate to kids who don’t like their vegetables. I’ve been slow in coming around myself. As a kid, I was known to pull the old switcharoo and hide the veggies in the nearest napkin. “Night of the Veggie Monster” uses humor, inventive illustrations, and descriptive language in an attempt to reach kids who don’t like the green stuff.
The story is told from the perspective of our unnamed protagonist and veggie disliker. Upon receiving his dinner plate containing three peas, his “we’ve been through this before” parents know what to expect. Our hero tries one of the peas and the transformation begins. Wiggly fingers, curled up toes, and watery eyes all lead up to the main event: full fledged veggie monster. The change does not last long however, as the monster eventually swallows said pea, realizing that maybe they’re not as bad as he first thought.
The way the main character deals with the consumption of a solitary pea is something kids will identify with:
As the pea rests in my mouth, my eyes begin to water.
That’s a great line, and one that true veggie haters will relate to. You don’t want to touch the food with your tongue, you don’t want to chew, you just kind of let it rest there in your mouth while you figure out what to do next.
The mixed media illustrations stand out for their originality. McClements creates a world where photographs mingle with simple line drawings. The characters appear to be drawn on brown paper, cut out, and placed in their surroundings. It’s a unique touch.
While I have yet to test it out, “Night of the Veggie Monster” is a likely pick for storytime. It’s vivid descriptions are ripe for the interpretin’. A solid picture book selection.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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