Monday, June 17, 2013

Need a monster? Visit the Monstore!

The Monstore
by Tara Lazar; illus. by James Burks
32 pages, ages 4-7
Aladdin, 2013

Zack has a problem - a big problem. And the only thing that can solve a big problem is a big solution... like a monster. Fortunately for Zack, there's a Monstore close by that sells only the "most useful monsters," writes Tara Lazar. Especially the big hairy kind that frighten pesky sisters away.

So Zack invests his hard-earned allowance and takes he monster home. He tells him to keep his sister Gracie out of his room. Instead, the monster and Gracie bond over hiding places and Zack heads back to the Monstore for a refund. Where he learns that there are No Returns; No Exchanges; No Exceptions! But there is a solution: buy another monster - they scare better in pairs.

I just had to find out if author Tara Lazar had used monsters to deal with her pesky younger brother. So I gave her a call and she was kind enough to answer Three Questions:

Sally's Bookshelf: So about your younger brother....

Tara: Sure, he bothered me by wanting to play with my friends, and we fought over some things. But we could be very cooperative. For example, we created casino-type games and invited neighborhood kids to play - for a price. Once we invested our allowances on trinkets for a neighborhood auction and split the proceeds. This is what happens in Monstore: Zack wants to keep his sister out of his life, but then realizes that he doesn't want to get rid of her completely.

SB: Did you have any monsters living under your bed or in your closet when you were a kid?

Tara: Not monsters - but I thought I had a poltergeist living in my bedroom! I had a stuffed clown that I didn't like very much, so I would often toss him into the back of my closet. In the morning, when I woke up, he'd be sitting in a little white chair. I wasn't scared of monsters, but I was worried about the clown. It turned out that my mom would find him when she was getting out my clothes, and she'd put him back in the chair every morning.

SB: If I come upon a monster (or buy one), how should I treat it?

Tara: You need to understand monsters - and in my book, Gracie does. She lets them do what they want to do as monsters. You really have to give them free  rein to be themselves. (SB's note: that seems like pretty good advice for dealing with siblings, too.)

Review copy provided by publisher.

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