Reviews for Monster Mash

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
The lyrics of the popular Halloween song "Monster Mash" provide the textual backdrop for Catrow's illustrative dance. Groovy, be-bopping monsters rock out on instruments and get down doing the "graveyard smash." Propelled by the silly, fun-loving ghouls, the colorful illustrations in a wash of teal, pink, and purple add just enough goofiness and goriness to entice young trick-or-treaters.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
Luring readers with a golden, holographic display type for the title and a grooving green monster on the cover, Catrow pairs his freakishly imaginative artwork with the lyrics to the perennial favorite. The entire song serves as the rhythmic text in this over-the-top visual experience. Adults who read this aloud will find it difficult not to sing it instead, but a slower oral pace is necessary so that younger eyes can take in the decadently gruesome, bizarre and otherwise weird things that populate the pages. The surreal images are created with a combination of pencil, watercolor, gouache and ink. Kids will either cringe or be fascinated by the spiderlike eyeball with blood vessel trailing behind, the skull with two eyes in one socket outfitted with an octopus bottom or the huge Venus flytrap/insect hybrid. The party reaches a crescendo when the coffin bangers arrive with "The Crypt-Kicker Five," and out come emaciated rocker skeletons riffing on guitars and impressing with gyrating moves à la the Rolling Stones. On the final pages, two normal kids and a dog come to the door of the creepy castle…and "catch on in a flash" when doing the "monster mash." Reserve this for older preschoolers and primary-grade children who may need a fun outlet for candy-fueled Halloween craziness. Clever and odd--but ultimately not essential. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #5

In this homage to the 1962 classic Halloween song, a blobby scientist is working in his lab when his Hollywood-style Frankenstein's monster starts dancing the Monster Mash. Soon he's joined by Wolfman, Dracula, guitar-playing skeletons (the Crypt-Kicker Five), and creatures with an assortment of tentacles, pincers, horns, and eyes. Catrow's outlandish aesthetic is well suited to the absurdity of the song's lyrics, and he doesn't hold back--his oozing, decaying, sharp-fanged creations may well prove too scary for more timid readers. Braver kids, though, should still find it a graveyard smash. Ages 3-8. (July)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 July

K-Gr 3--Using the words from the 1962 novelty song "Monster Mash," Catrow has created a hilarious picture book with inventive illustrations. Electrifying pictures on spreads with minimal text explode the lyrics into a (not) terrifying book that monster fans will cherish. The artwork shows everything readers might think would frighten them in a humorous light. The detailed pictures are created with pen, pencil, watercolors, and gouache. For example, the lyrics "The coffin-bangers/were about to arrive/with their vocal group/The Crypt-Kicker Five" are set against a picture of a skeleton dragging a fiery vehicle loaded with several pairs of pink eyes as it passes in front of an enormous Swiss cheese moon on its way to a drawbridge that leads into a spooky castle. This title will work as a read-aloud, but kids are going to want to spend a lot of time looking at the illustrations. It is a book for every library with readers who celebrate Halloween.--Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Union, Washington & Waldoboro, MEH

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