Wednesday, January 13, 2010

REVIEW: Jeremy Draws a Monster

Jeremy Draws a MonsterMcCarty P.  (2009).  Jeremy Draws a Monster.  New York:  Henry Holt and Company.


Appetizer:  Jeremy never leaves his dreary room to play outside with the other children.  To have some company, Jeremy draws a monster, but discovers his monster is a wee-bit demanding.

The actual act, when Jeremy begins to draw his monster in the air is reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon.  (But in this case, Jeremy chooses blue)

The sparse illustrations are particularly striking.  The setting of Jeremy's room is done only in black and white shading, making Jeremy and his blue monster stand out.  As for the way the monster is portrayed, it's face could be a little scary for a few young readers.  But I do think the fact that the monster has some swirly designs along its torso alleviates any fright a wee little one might initially feel.  It's also clear that the monster is a reflection of Jeremy, himself.  But have the number three on their front and spiky hair/horns on the tops of their heads.

After the monster becomes very demanding, it's up to Jeremy to figure out how to get
rid of it.  And I like the way he does it.  (The illustration was almost chuckle worthy)  I also like how solving that problem, helps Jeremy to solve his bigger problem of loneliness.
*rereads* yeah, I think  that was vague enough to not need a spoiler warning.

In my mind, Jeremy Draws a Monster is an example of what all children's literature should do: show a child's perspective and allow the child figure to solve their own problem.  And including some humor certainly doesn't hurt.

Dinner Conversation:

"Jeremy lived on the top floor of a three-story apartment building."

"One day, Jeremy took out his fancy pen and started to draw.  He began at the top..."

"The monster did not say thank you."

To Go with the Meal:

The go to, obvious activity to use with this book would be to encourage students to draw their own monsters.  But on paper.  Not in the air.  Although that'd be cool if someone could find a fancy pen that was up to the task.

Has anyone invented one of those yet?  I'd be happy to play with a prototype for you all?  I'd even post images of the monster I'd create with my seriously awesome lack of art skillz.

This would be a good read aloud for preschoolers and kindergartners.  It requires visual literacy while including relatable emotions (even the monster is childlike in its demands).

Okay, I cave.  *slight spoiler* if a teacher were on the hunt for picturebooks that include role models, some hypothetical teacher might say:

"When Jeremy has a problem with his monster, his way of solving the issue is to send the beast away.  That's a HORRIBLE example to set.  Whine.  Whine.  Whine."

But then, another teacher might have a counter-argument:

"This book is fun and isn't intended to be about conflict resolution.  A problem created with Jeremy's imagination is solved with Jeremy's imagination.  And it's fun. Did I say that already?  Fun!  Fun!  FUN!  So there.  *sticks tongue out at the first hypothetical teacher before running away*

Guess which hypothetical teacher I am, dear readers.  My tasty rating just might give it away.

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

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