12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Title, Story and Illustrations Aren't as Clever Though,
This review is from: Monsters Eat Whiny Children (Hardcover)
Monsters Eat Whiny Children continues on with the growing clever number of children's picture book titles that make both adults and kids pick them up off the shelf, while meanwhile they create a bit controversy as the vocal minority of extremist belief parents who believe in sheltering their fragile children from the real world cry for its removal from those shelves. Bruce Kaplan's picture book certainly achieves those objectives, but once you open the book does it deliver the goods. I'd have to say it falls a bit short. It's readable, but I think it struggles to decide who exactly it is targeting, adult readers or child readers and has settled somewhere in the middle, thereby not really satisfying either. The illustrations for a start are very basic, what you see on the cover is as good and colourful as they get on the pages inside. There's the odd bit of colouring in of a parts of a cake or a toy, but for the most part the images are just black pen outlines. The monsters don't look scary, funny or, well even like monsters, they pretty much just look like adults which make the whole abducting these kids angle a bit scarier.
The story's plot itself is basically a retelling of the old Hansel and Gretel tale, except this time the kids are abducted from their house instead of having stumbled upon a house of candy in the woods. The story is just a heap of different adults, who are neighbours of the abductor or family members, arguing over the best meal to make now that they have these whiny kids ingredients in their possession. The ingredients and meals apart from a cake and burgers though, aren't simple things most child readers will know from having eaten themselves or been exposed to in other children's stories. Vindaloo, cilantro, paprika are just a few examples. The text is pretty lengthy too for a kids' book when talking about each meal scenario.
Yet the book holds back if the target market was adults and the intention is to be a parody of a kids book like Go the F to Sleep. Monsters Eat Whiny Children does have the odd funny moment that kids or adults who are forced to have a family gathering with relatives they don't really want to spend time with can relate to, such as the old lady who spits while she talks and the wife who can't eat sugar because she says her bottom is too big. But there's not enough of these moments to make you want to pass it on as a must read to your friends, especially those who don't read much.