Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The School Library Journal Review

HOWIE, Betsy. The Block Mess Monster. illus. by C. B. Decker. unpaged. CIP. Holt. June 2008. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8050-7940-1. LC 2007007229.
K-Gr 3—Calpurnia has a Block Mess Monster in her room that doesn't want to be put away. Her mom who, oddly enough, can't see it, encourages her to clean up. And that's the little girl's problem. "Just say POOF!" advises Mom. But no amount of poofing makes Block Mess disappear. And no amount of cajoling on Mom's part convinces Calpurnia that Block Mess doesn't exist. But just when she's about to lose her patience, Mom comes up with a brilliant idea that resolves the issue. Watercolor cartoons brilliantly capture the humor and exasperation of this parent-child tug-of-war. Calpurnia, always in a different getup (including an Indian outfit) repeatedly tries to discourage Mom's attempts to clean the room. Droll vignettes depict the child in various guises trying to "poof" away the dreaded monster, while Mom's oversize hand reaching to clear away clutter and a close-up of her blazing eyes and downturned mouth cause Calpurnia to quip, "Oh great. Now there are two monsters." There are many picture-book stories that urge youngsters to clean their room, but this perfect pairing of text and illustrations is irresistible.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT

I'm told a good review in the SLJ will expose your book to tens of thousands of school librarians across the nation...one can hope!


Robyn said...

Wow! That's a really great review! Congratulations! (And let's cross our fingers)

Kirsten said...

I know we love it. Kendall practically has it memorized and likes to 'read' it to us. We especially like the "POOF!" page.

CBDecker said...

Tell Kendall that she can write and draw pictures too and maybe someday someone will publish a book that she made!

"It's dreams come true!"

Kirsten said...

Kendall LOVES to draw pictures and have me write out the stories that go with them. They're usually totally bizarre- a volcano getting lava on her brain and chocolate chip ice cream making her feel better- but they're adorable.

Larry & Erica Evans said...

yeah, that's so exciting! We love the book and we show it to everyone!