If you’ve been helping celebrate the release of Tara Lazar’s debut picture book THE MONSTORE (Simon and Schuster, 2013), you know that it’s about a boy who keeps buying more and more monsters from a not-so-helpful neighborhood store in hopes that one of them will be able to keep his pesky little sister from bothering him.
It’s a great idea, even if it doesn’t work out exactly as the boy might have hoped.
So … I thought the best way to mark the arrival of this great book, which is illustrated by James Burks, would be to ask some kids what kind of a monster they would create if they could make their own. No over-exposed creatures like Frankenstein or Godzilla or King Kong. Just custom-made, newly minted monsters from the creative minds of the next generation.
As you’ll see from the responses and the art, my young friends were up to the task.
Now, let’s welcome Joshua, age 6. His monster is Mosde, a 9 -year-old girl, who takes care of kids, helps kids if they fall, and gives Band-aids as needed (which she carries in her purse).
Anna is 11, but she’s not too old to believe in monsters. Spike is a water monster with water wings that propel him through water. He has bright skin that glows in the dark, deep water and many instincts that help him navigate the water. Spike can swim under water, but he can’t breathe underwater — has to swim to the surface to breathe and then hold his breath. But he can hold his breath for one century. That is why no one has ever seen him.
Jacob, age 7, designed a monster that can fly. He shoots fire out of his mouth. He catches prey with his talons. His name is Talon, and he’s 20 years old. Because Talon can fly, he helps Jacob retrieve balls from roofs and whatever gets stuck high in trees.
Sienna says, “I would buy a monster that could turn into a kitty when I wanted it to and it could be a nice monster that could shoot out hot chocolate.”
Then, there’s Drew. He just finished kindergarten, and he designed a monster named Mr. Monster. Drew says Mr. Monster is a very strong monster who helps Drew wash dishes. Not that Drew currently washes dishes in his home. But, with the help of Mr. Monster, he tells his mom that he could start.
Abby, who is 5.5, said she would like “a monster who eats fruit and vegetables and likes to go to the pool with me so I can float on his back.”
Jake, who is 8.5, says he would like “one that can play Minecraft and find all the diamonds.” If you are not familiar with Minecraft, it is game (usually played on the computer or iPad) where you create or customize your world, build houses, mine for resources AND kill monsters.
Sam, who is 10, says: “Only friendly monsters? Hmm. I’d buy one to do my homework and play Minecraft multi-player games, and somehow get me lots of money.”
Isaac, who is 4, notes: “I would get one to help me tie my shoes and to help me drive. And I would want it to make me marshmallows and shoot cotton balls with rocks inside of them at ghosties and other scary things.”
Georgia, who is 6, says: “He would get me lunches that I like and eat all of the things I don’t like that my mom makes. And he could teach me how to drive. And make me cakes. Strawberry cakes. Also, he could spray magic on me so that I can sleep at night so my mom doesn’t go whackadoodle.”
John, who’s 6, says: “I would like it to have fifty heads, one eye, one tooth, one baseball cap, and one hundred arms. Oh, and one more thing — a mean father. (It’s just like the Cyclops and the Hecatonchires and Uranus.)”
And last but not least, meet Ellie, who’s 9. She says: “I would like to have a nice little monster named Pie. It’s fluffy and has little pointed ears, and it’s blue. It has little bows on each side of its ears, and little round arms and feet, and is very cute and friendly.”
Well, then! There are more than enough idea for Tara and James to write a sequel.
If you could design a monster to help you with something, what would it look like? What would it do?