Sunday, November 3, 2019

Review - Leo's Monster

Leo's Monster
by Marcus Pfister
Date: 2020
Publisher: NorthSouth Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

When Leo, the city mouse, visits his friend Zoe in the countryside for the first time, he meets a huge and horrible monster.

It’s gigantic, has lots of horns, an enormous tail, and when it roars, the earth shakes. At least that’s what Leo saw. Or did he? Zoe thinks his description sounds just like Bertha, the sweet-tempered cow in the meadow . . .

Bestselling author Marcus Pfister skillfully weaves a hilarious story of mystery, suspense and just a hint of scariness.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is quite a cute story. I first encountered this author's work in Who Stole the Hazelnuts?, which I didn't love (I found the pictures a bit creepy). I enjoyed Leo's Monster a lot more... and I would have liked it even better had the resolution of the story not been completely spoiled by the synopsis.

Leo, a city mouse, visits Zoe, a country mouse, and goes outside to have a look around. He comes back to Zoe's place shaken, thinking he's seen a monster. As Zoe tries to get a description of this monster out of him, the narrative and the illustrations both start to hint at a cow (which would've been much more fun to see had we not already been told that's what the monster was).

The illustrations here are really interesting. I'm not sure what you call the technique, but it looks like it's done with acrylic paint, adding an intriguing texture. The style runs throughout the illustrations, and it's used to good effect on everything from the animals' fur to the grass to a steaming pile of manure.

While I think the story is a little weak (and Leo's stammering in terror is just a little overdone), I do think this could be an entertaining book for children. Just don't read them the back matter; instead, let them try to figure out the identity of the monster on their own.

Thank you to NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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