Book Chat

NPBM Blog-Along: Monsters

Did you know that November is Picture Book Month?

Trick question, because it never was before… but now it is!  Picture Book Month is an international initiative to celebrate children’s books and debunk the rumor that printed books will cease to exist because of new technology.  Go read more at founder Dianne de Las Casas’ website, and tune in for the blog posts by famous authors and illustrators.  There’s even a calendar with different themes for each day of November, so you can play along.

You know I can’t resist a good picture book, so this is right up my alley!  Instead of NaNoWriMo or any of the other 30-Day-Blog-Challenges, I’ve decided to take on Picture Book Month as my own personal blogging challenge–I will highlight one book a day that goes along with the theme for that day, in addition to my regular blogging.  Join me for Picture Book Month and share your favorite picture books!

November 8, 2011
Theme: Monsters

The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit, written and illustrated by Chris Wormell

This is a very interesting picture book I found at a very unlikely venue–in the Sale basket at Walgreens.  It definitely fits the theme, although it’s a bit of a difficult picture book.  The story is simple–the big ugly monster is so ugly that nobody will come near him, even the stone animals he carves– except a little stone rabbit.  Ok, so at this point we all know where this is going, right?  But no.  Whatever redeeming event you think might happen doesn’t.  Nobody ever befriends the monster, and the rabbit never becomes anything other than stone.  The monster dies alone.  Only after his death is the land around him restored to beauty, and nobody ever knows the story of the stone rabbit left behind.  Huh.

I wouldn’t recommend this story as a bedtime read-aloud, but I wouldn’t exactly un-recommend it either.  For an older child or even middle schooler, it might bring up conversations about loneliness, isolation, rejection, inner beauty, maybe even bullying.  Not always an easy or pleasant conversation, but a conversation worth provoking.  It’s a bit like Chris Van Allsburg  picture books–beautiful and complex, a little haunting, with more depth than what you might perceive at first glance.    So those are my two cents.

What’s your favorite Monsters picture book?

Tune in tomorrow for the next picture book, and check out Picture Book Month’s website too!

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