Are you familiar with the “How Do Dinosaurs…?” book series? How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends?, and How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room? have held a place on our bookshelves and a reserved spot in the nightly story time for years.
Jane Yolen, author of this popular dinosaur series, also writes about monsters. Her latest book, Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters has cute, googly-eyed monsters on the cover that playfully invite children into the pages that follow.
Perhaps the title is a fun play on words. After all, the monsters play (romp) all day long in the park and – later – they stomp (can you say temper tantrum?). After a busy, fun-filled day of action-packed activities, it is not uncommon for children – or monsters – to come undone.
The book begins in playful prose as the monsters spend a glorious day in the park. They stretch and twirl and catch and hurl. They even slide and piggy-back ride. The illustrations by Kelly Murphy are delightful – colorful and inviting, silly and playful.
The book follows a natural progression that any parent can relate to. A fun day in the park – a long, fun day in the park – will eventually lead to a conflict or a temper tantrum – or both. Our romping monsters begin to stomp when one pushes the other at the water fountain, and one falls down while the other one laughs.
It is at this point of conflict, Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters heads off in a discontinuous direction. The singing-like rhymes disappear. I had to flip back a page to make sure I had read it correctly. The monster fight comes and goes in an instant when mama monster merely tells her monster child to say “sorry”. Then, allegedly, it’s “all better”, and they walk home with their balloons.
I think there was a missed opportunity to expand on the conflict and the resolution. While this may be what occurs in reality (a mom forces a child to utter his apology and everyone moves on), the story just seems to end abruptly. It feels disconnected from the scenes earlier on in the tale.
Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters told a cute story – until the end – but I imagine our children will not notice or be bothered by it. The illustrations are wonderful – colorful, happy, and a great addition to the telling of the story. The underlying message or lesson, I believe, is also left hanging in an unnatural manner. The story – like the rhyme – feels like it was dropped abruptly. My children? (perhaps, the most important voice) They all eagerly picked up this book from the coffee table where I left it. They chuckled while reading it and thought it was a cute, fun, silly book.
I received a review copy of this book from Raab Associates.
If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can find it at Amazon: