I Want a Monster! (A Story With Kid Appeal)

Sometimes I get so focused on analyzing a picture book’s story and art – what I love about each, what doesn’t work for me, etc. – that I forget the ultimate readers. Kids! Not all littles love every book out there, naturally, but I think there are some stories with more “universal” kid appeal than others.

So I was really excited to stumble onto Canadian author-illustrator Elise Gravel’s newest book, I WANT A MONSTER! (2016, Katherine Tegen Books). Kids. Will. Love. This.

All of Winnie’s friends have monsters, and she wants one, too! By the time she approaches her papa, she’s done her homework and knows exactly how to care for one. They visit the Monsterium and learn a bit about each type of monster, and, while she’d love to have one of each, she eventually settles on a baby Oogly-Wump. The Oogly-Wump, whose name becomes Gus, is naughty, and kid listeners will be giggling aloud as Winnie teaches him that the toilet is not a place to swim and that he shouldn’t do certain things in Papa’s shoes and that peanut butter doesn’t go on one’s head, etc. Gus does silly things to get Winnie’s attention and eats yucky stuff and needs “a bit of discipline.” But even monsters need plenty of love.

As Gus grows and matures, he’s less troublesome (mostly). When he seems sad, Winnie knows exactly what he needs. Which I won’t tell you because I’ve provided enough spoilers. Ooh, but there’s also great nonfiction info at story’s end, in case, you know, you want to adopt and care for a monster of your own.

The art is bright, flat, cartoony, and designed for maximum laughs. Worked for me!

Anyway, this is one you should check out and share with the kiddos in your lives.

So what lately-published stories have appealed to the kiddos in your lives?


Jill Esbaum

Jill Esbaum has been picture book crazy since her 3 kids were little, and especially so after her first was published in 2004 (Stink Soup). Recent titles: Bird Girl - Gene Stratton-Porter Shares Her Love of Nature With the World, Parrotfish Has a Superpower, Stinkbird Has a Superpower, Sea Turtle Swims, Kangaroo Hops, Jack Knight's Brave Flight, We Love Babies!, Where'd My Jo Go?, Frog Boots, How to Grow a Dinosaur, Frankenbunny, If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party, Elwood Bigfoot– Wanted: Birdie Friends!, Teeny Tiny Toady, I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!, and more. Coming in 2025: Polecat Has a Superpower!, It's Corn-Picking Time!, Giraffe Runs. She's also the author of many nonfiction books for young readers, as well as an early graphic reader series, Thunder & Cluck. Learn more at http://jillesbaum.com.


  1. Sounds cute. I’ve adopted a few monsters of my own over the years!

  2. Lindsay Hanson Metcalf

    Sounds adorable. My kids have really enjoyed Shark Vs. Train (Chris Barton/Tom Lichtenheld), Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great (Bob Shea), Interstellar Cinderella (Deborah Underwood), and You Will Be My Friend (Peter Brown).

    • YES. All of these are standouts, aren’t they? I think Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great is SO FUN to read aloud with lots of attitude.

  3. Sounds really fun–and the “non-fiction” at the end sounds really clever. Thanks, Jill!


  5. Me, too, Kathy!

  6. This looks sweet & hilarious–putting it on the “to-read” list!

    Thank you, Jill!!

  7. I can’t wait to read this one!! It sounds super fun!
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. This looks like so much fun, and so clever, too. Thanks for introducing us to this book, Jill!

    • It is, and I only feel bad that I’m not better at describing the art, Eliza. You illustrators are so great at that!

  9. Can’t wait to see this one! Sounds adorable. Two newer releases that I’m loving are Trainbots (Miranda Paul/Shane McG) and Good Night Baddies (Deborah Underwood/Juli Kangas). I haven’t tried them out in storytime yet, but hope to soon.

  10. Lucky you, to have a story time to share your favorites with and see how they fly! Thanks, Patty!

  11. Angie Quantrell

    Sounds adorable! Can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  12. Hey, thank you! I’m so glad you liked my book! I’ll try to make more, just for you!

  13. Such fun story and art. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thanks for dropping by, Lynne! 🙂

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