by Paul Czajak
Wendy Grieb, illustrator
Press Release: 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 narrative, Monster shows young readers that sometimes being different, daring to try something new, and being yourself are the best solutions.
Opening: Monster needs a costume for his favorite time of year. “It’s nearly Halloween,” he roared. “The day is almost here!”
About the Story: Monster’s big day is getting close and he has nothing to wear. What does a monster dress-up as on Halloween? He is already a monster, but what self-respecting monster wants to go out trick-or-treating dressed as a monster? So he thought about it until his little pal suggested an astronaut, fireman, and a giant Bartlett pear. Nope, he thought, not the right disguise for this Halloween. Suddenly, he saw a star and Monster knew what he wanted to be for Halloween.
Monster wants to be a cowboy, with a lasso and a star, to “catch desperados.” His friend suggested a twenty-gallon hat would be the perfect touch, and he was right. Monster looked very Wild West with his longish goatee, fangs that poke up past his nose, and a stare that would stop any dirt bag lowlife from stealing a pie at the county fair. It lasted exactly a week.
Monster watched television and saw a ballet. Now he wants to be a dancer—code word for ballerina—and he put on his tutu and danced on his nimble toes . . . until he fell over from pirouetting, plié-ing, tendu-ing, and dancing all over the house. The ballerina, um, dancer, lasted one day. Ah, but Monster had another idea . . .
What I Thought: I like Monster Needs a Costume. I am not sure, but Monster could be living with the little narrator, or Monster could be the boy’s pet. I like the way Monster looks. He is so tall at nearly nine-feet that he cannot stand up straight in the house. Monster’s body is a beautiful sea blue with wavy purple hair atop his head. If you look up, you will see Monster’s purple-toned goatee and a large over-bite with bright, shiny, white teeth, on a sea-blue chin and face. Monster’s face reminds me of Mr. Potato Head. His expressive eyes look interchangeable, as does his purple bulbous nose.
Monster’s imagination is very active. He can envision each costume and the activities he can perform in each one. Still, there is always a “but” and Monster has a clumsy “but” in his two front-feet. Monster is a lovable, hardy, very imaginative, friendly, good-looking monster that can sometimes cause a scene or ruin a perfectly good chair. Monster has good self-esteem. He wears Halloween costumes generally considered a girl’s costume and thinks nothing of it. This makes Monster brave, as he was planning on being seen as a tutu-wearing dancer.
I think young children will adore Monster. I also think young children, and their parents, will be happy to learn their new favorite monster is a series. Monster Needs a Costume is book 1. My guess—and I really have no idea—is that Monster will gently teach manners, good behavior, and model both for his new little friends. He will also be a tad mischievous and a little grouchy at times—but hey, Monster is a monster! Looking at his face I can tell, Monster will be that all-around good friend you call pick up and read whenever you are lonely or simply alone.
Released September 3, 2013
Age 2 to 6
© 2013 by Scarletta Kids, used with permission
Text copyright © 2013 by Paul Czajak
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Wendy Grieb
Scarletta Kids is an imprint of Scarletta Press
- Interview with Josh Plattner, Editor at Scarletta (writersrumpus.com)
- EXTRA! EXTRA! Monster & Me Costume Contest! (writersrumpus.com)