February 17, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Monster Returns

Oh, boy, do we have fun in store today!

But you know the rules - Perfect Picture Book first, other stuff after :)  So let's start with the book!  Today's choice is by one of my favorite author/illustrators.  Don't be surprised if some of his other books show up on PPBFs in the future :)

The Monster Returns
Written and Illustrated By: Peter McCarty
Henry Holt & Co., January 2012, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 3-7

Themes/Topics: art, friendship, imagination, surprises

Opening:  "One beautiful day, Jeremy was up in his room.  Jeremy didn't like to be disturbed when he was drawing."

Brief Synopsis:  (From the jacket copy) "Jeremy thought he'd seen the last of his monster when he sent him away with a one-way bus ticket.  But suddenly the phone rings... The monster has returned!"

Links To Resources: Mad Monster Activity, Monster Songs and Poems, have kids draw their own monsters or make them out of whatever craft materials you have to hand!

Why I Like This Book:  This is a sequel to Jeremy Draws A Monster (also excellent!)  Jeremy is perhaps a little too inclined to spend time on his own drawing, and this book shows both that it's okay to spend time alone being creative and that it's nice to have friends to do things with.  Jeremy is imaginative and resourceful in dealing with the monster.  The end is a fun surprise where the monster's intent turns out to be different than the reader might have expected, with the message that everyone needs friends - even monsters :)  The art is simple and engaging with plenty of white space to draw your eye to the monster :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Before we get to the fun part (announcing the winner of the Valentines Day Writing Contest!) just a little business about Perfect Picture Books.

A few stats:

- This is PPBs 14th week.
- 37 Bloggers are participating, of which 25 have contributed at least 4 books and 5 besides me have contributed every week since the beginning.  (Also 1 has contributed 12, and 2 have done 11, so we have some very dedicated PPB bloggers! :))
- There are 245 books on the list before today's go up.
- They fall across 145 categories/subjects/themes.
- With possibly one exception, every single one posted has resources!

So thank you all for your fantastic work.  We are building a great resource here for parents, teachers, home schoolers, writers, and gift-givers!  That said, I think we have enough of a list going now that we should all be talking this up to everyone we know who might find the resource useful - it's only really great if people are actually  benefitting from it.  So I encourage you all to spread the word in whatever capacity you can.  Tracy (known to many of you as A2ZMommy) is writing a review about it for her local news site today!  You can read it HERE.

Since some bloggers are new to PPBFs, and some people may need a refresher, I'd just like to take a second to remind you all of a few key things:
1.  Please check the list on the Perfect Picture Book tab before you choose a book to post.  I try hard to keep it updated.  If I'm behind, it's usually only by the previous week's list, so check that too.  We are trying to avoid multiple postings of the same book.

2.  When you add your link to the list, please add the post-specific link (not the general link to your blog.)  It doesn't matter that much for the actual day of posting, but for anyone who comes along afterwards, your link then links to whatever the next post you did was - not the PPB.  And for me going along updating, I then have to search for the post and get the right link for the archive page.

3.  Please only post favorite books WITH RESOURCES!  The resources are what set our list apart from many others.  The resources can be links online or things you make up, but there must be something that people can use to expand their use of the book.  Books without resources will NOT be added to the master list.

4.  Please follow the PPB format (available at the bottom of the Perfect Picture Book tab) as closely as possible.  This allows for consistency across blogs, making it easy for people using the list to find the information they want.

5.  Please make sure to post themes, age appropriateness, and fiction or non-fiction clearly.  It's a lot of work updating the list, and if I have not read the book, I can't guess where it's supposed to fit or how to archive it.

Thank you so much for your attention to these details.  I'm sure it seems nit-picky, but it's really about making the list as useful as possible and preserving my sanity in trying to keep it up-to-date :)


Who won the Valentine Contest?

Oh, wait.  I think I hear my doorbell.  I'll be right back....

JK :)

Once again, I'd like to thank everyone for their terrific entries.  Many of us readers are writers.  We know how hard it is to put your work out there.  And we appreciate your bravery.  All the entries were worthy and fun to read, and I wish you could all win!

But I don't have that many prizes.... unless you want raccoon nest material?  I think there's some of that in the garage...

It was a closely contested race - the most competitive of any of the contests so far.  But eventually, someone pulled ahead and stayed there.  So, without further ado, the voters have spoken, and the winner of our Valentine Contest is:

PENNY!!!!! with Frankenstein Valentine!!!!!

Congratulations, Penny!  This is the second time you have won a contest here.  You may have a future as a writer :)  You get your pick of Ann Whitford Paul's book, or a picture book ms critique from me.  Let me know via email what your choice is!

2nd Place goes to Erik for Love Has No Point.  He gets a copy of Spilling Ink (if he doesn't already have it :))

3rd Place goes to Vivian for Whom Do I Love?  She gets our admiration for being 3rd out of 30 entries :)

Thanks again to everyone for making the contest such a success!

Now have a great weekend, and PPB bloggers, please remember to add you post-specific link to the list below, which I will hopefully remember to attach this week! :)  OH!  And remember our awesome interview which will take place on Sunday with Donna Farrell, website and blog designer for children's authors and illustrators!


  1. The Monster Returns sounds like loads of fun, Susanna. Children need more books like these. Books that show yuo can have fun up in your room drawing or whatever. You do NOT need video games and TV. Excellent choice. I'm adding it to my looong list of, must buy these books!

    Congrads to all the winners in the contest. The entries were all awesome.

    Can't wait for the interview. (((hugs))) pal. :-)

  2. Congrats to Penny, Erik, and Vivian! Awesome job, guys.

    Susanna, I can't believe this is only the 14th week of doing PPF -- considering how many picture books have been submitted. It's amazing!

  3. Congrats to the winners! The entries were all very creative.

    Hadn't heard of Monster Returns, will have to check it out.

  4. Susanna...what an honor! Your contest has helped me get my feet wet, so to speak, and put my stuff out there where others can see it. I just entered Julie's contest tonight...with another PB I've been first real pitch. :)

    I LOVE the story you selected...I'll definitely have to get grandson's name is JEREMY...and he loves books about monsters!!!

    I was able to post my PPBF link myself tonight...whoo-hoo!

  5. What a fun book you have picked, though a monster, he does sound cute. Jeremy sounds a lot like me... loves to just be on his own and be creative.
    Congrats to all the winners, there was some amazing entries. Congrats Penny, Erik, and Vivian.
    Strange how my entry once again does not want to appear...... *scratches head*.... here is the url ... and the name Catherine's Story

  6. Congrats to PENNY (yay!), Erik, and Vivian, well deserved all!

    I'm partial to monsters, so love your selection today, Susanna!

    I know my selection (I Want My Hat Back) was submitted last week, which is the same week I had my review of it slated. However, I was not able to participate last week, so I just finished the review and posted it today, as I would like it on my site regardless. Do what you will (or won't) with the link, no problem! :)

  7. Congratulations Penny!!! Great job on an ADORABLE story! Very talented Lady! Love your stuff! :) And Congratulations to Erik and Vivian for a very strong showing. I know it sounds cliche, but I was truly thrilled to be chosen as a finalist in such an outstanding group of entries. I was so impressed by so many of them!

    We own Jeremy's Monster and my boys just love it. But I didn't realize that there was a sequel, how did this get by me? We will definitely have to get our hands on this one.

    And with all of this talk of the very productive PPBF participants, I am very sad to report that I did not get a review done this week. :( Busy week!

    There's always next week, right?? :)

    Happy Friday All!

  8. Those stats are brilliant Susanna. Love the monster book and congrats to Penny!

    Did you get my email about Ishta's picture book query service? I might go and put it on my blog too. It's such a great idea.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  9. Thanks, Robyn, I agree! :) If you get the book form the library, you might also want to get the first one - Jeremy Draws A Monster. You don't have to read it first, but it works nicely if you do :) Looking forward to seeing your pick for today! :)

  10. This looks like a great book- I think I need to look at both of the monster books- we love them in our house.
    Thanks for the shout out on your review- the story will be live at 9 a.m. eastern time.
    I Loved Frankenstein Valentine- Congrats to Penny!

  11. Congrats to you, too, Margaret - I thought you're entry was clever and fun! And I know! - PPB are coming along amazingly! There are so many wonderful picture books... :)

  12. Hm, I commented earlier, but maybe I forgot to hit enter??

    Anyway, CONGRATS to Penny (yay!), Erik, and Vivian!

    I'm partial to monsters, so I love your selection today, Susanna.

    I know my selection (I Want My Hat Back) was entered last week, but I was unable to participate last week when my review of it was slated. So I just finished that review and posted it this week, also because I want it on my blog. Do what you will (or won't) with the link, no problem! :)

  13. Check out Jeremy Draws A Monster while you're at it - they go together :) Looking forward to seeing your book for today!

  14. Yay! Such progress on all fronts! :) Good luck with your pitch entry - that would be an awesome prize to win! And if you check out the monster books, your grandson will probably like the first one too - Jeremy Draws A Monster!

  15. Congratulations Ms. Klosterman!!! I loved the Frankenstein Valentine! :) Congratulations Ms. Kirkfield!
    I really enjoyed everyone's poems/stories! It took me a while to write this comment because it took me a while to get over my surprise and get up from the floor *faint*. Thank you everyone! Especially you, Ms. Hill, for doing these awesome contests!

    Your picture book looks like a funny story idea! I never heard of it before. I think I'd like to read the first book too :) That'd be cool if some of our drawings could come to life!

  16. First off, the all entries for the contest were incredible. I have revisited them to reread. I don't know how Susanna is able to choose because there were 30 awesome entries. A special congratulations to Erik and Vivian...and a big congratulations to all entries. Yea! I can't tell you how excited I am about winning!

    Thanks, Susanna for hosting these contests. They are so much fun and give us a great opportunity to write within guidelines which is very helpful.

    The statistics you gave us for PPBF are wonderful. You have created a great resource for parents, teachers, and everyone who loves reading picture books. Thanks!!!!
    I haven't read either of Peter McCarty's monster books, but you can bet I will be reading them soon.

    By the way...a few readers were worried about Frankenstein not finding a Valentine. I would like to report that he is very happy back at Halloween...and that he has updated his FB status to: In a relationship. (He posted her picture and she looks very familiar....big hair with a white, lightning-type strip running through :-)

  17. Congratulations to everyone who entered the competition but WOW 2nd win! Bravo Penny! And of course, huge well done to Erik and Vivian!

    I don't know these Monster books and am very happy for the introduction!

  18. Congratulations to Penny and the other winners! All the stories were good and the winners did stand out.

    I love the stats on the PPBF's. Thanks for giving those to us. They are fun to know. :-)

    I must get McCarty's monster books out of the library! I just love monster books. Thanks for introducing them to us. :-)

  19. I just woke up and put the wrong link for my PPBF post. As in one I had copy and pasted yesterday, it's a great link on how to edit your work to life, but not a PPBF. Sorry guys. Is there a way to delete a link?

  20. Congratulations Penny, Erik and Vivian! And, Susanna, I'm breaking all the rules today — All of mine have been fiction, but never noted that. I'll make a note to go through my posts. Not today, but it will be on my list. Then, I post to a totally different blog - not even my own. :) Happy Friday! Looks like a fun list today.

  21. So glad you enjoy the contests, Penny! I do too. Everyone is so talented. It's really fun to see what everyone comes up with. Thanks for the update on Frankenstein's relationships status - you are too funny!

  22. Ah, it's early :) No worries, Stacy - I fixed it! And it was a great contest! I'm looking forward to the next one :)

  23. Hooray for 14 weeks of Perfect Picture Books. I've forwarded this list to educators I know, and I know it's a great resource. Congrats also to Penny and her Valentine's Day story. Well done!

  24. Oh, thank you so much, Kirsten! I really appreciate it! Can't wait to see what you posted today - I'll be along... :)

  25. I think you'll like them, Clar. They're very engaging - both the drawings and stories!

  26. Congrats to all the worthy winners of the Valentine contest! Was fun reading the entries. And Holy Smokes on those PPBF stats!!! That's incredible. So glad to see PBs getting the love they deserve.

    I hadn't heard of your book Susanna. You give it very high praise, so I will be sure to check it out. :-)

  27. The monster books are very cute! And I know - it's a good thing you guys do the voting, otherwise I might be accused of favoritism :) All you other writers are going to have to call out the heavy artillery in the next contest so you can beat Penny :)

  28. I think you'll like the monster books, Julie :) And I'm thrilled with how PPBs is coming along. Now to figure out how to spread the word to people who could really make use of it... besides us :) There are so many great picture books, and they're such a huge part of childhood 9or should be :)) and especially with all the upheaval in the publishing world, I want to make sure they still get their due!

  29. That would be cool, wouldn't it? Although if my drawings came to life we'd have some pretty weird looking things wandering around :)

    Glad you recovered from your faint! Congratulations on a well-deserved 2nd place - it was a great entry!

    Enjoy your day off from school!

  30. I hope you like the books, and I'll have to check and make sure that link is correct - someone said they clicked it and read some old lady's obit! :)

  31. Glad you like the book, and I'm thrilled with how PPBF is coming along! I did get your email, but saw the link had been posted on 12X12 and already had so much in this post that I let it slide for now... Maybe next post... HAGW :)

  32. Congrats to all the winners--all the entries I read were so much fun!
    Have a great weekend Susanna!

  33. And oops - I don't think I have mine labeled as F/NF, so like Stacy, I'll add that to my to-do list.

  34. Your entry was terrific, Natalie! We all really enjoyed it! If you haven't seen The Monster Returns, it's probably because it just came out like a week ago :) I just happen to know Peter, so I'm always on the lookout :) And though of course we're sorry you missed this week for PPB, of course there is always next week! Whenever you can is great - it's not supposed to be a chore :) - and we all know how life gets in the way sometimes :)

  35. You're very sweet, Julie - don't worry too much about past ones unless there are any I've mislabeled. Some books are clearly fiction - the tricky ones are the ones that could go either way.

  36. Thanks for the update on requirements. Being new, I didn't even think to check your list before submitting a book. I will from now on. I love this resource you are providing for parents!!

  37. Congratulations, Penny! You're one of the ones I voted for. (Yes, I voted for two - on two separate computers.) It was a TOUGH decision. I'm so glad you won!

  38. Congratulations Penny, Erik and Vivian. They were all great stories.

    Thanks for the refresher on what you want in PPB entries Susanna.

    I am not at all familiar with the Monster books. Will have to check them out. Liked your review a lot!

  39. congrats to the winners! I have forwarded this list to some of my teacher/librarian friends. It's a great resource, so there will be more folks visiting from Canada. Also, the PPB's could almost use a web page of their own, to make it easier to search...

  40. Thank you so much for sharing the list, Jackie! I really appreciate it, as I'm sure does everyone else who puts their hard work into preparing these reviews! As for a separate page, I've thought about it... but i don't want to separate it from my blog... not sure of the best course of action...

  41. Thanks, Pat. I hope you'll like them. I find them very engaging!

  42. Thank you so much, Jackie! And I love your reviews - very thorough! I'm hoping we can get the word out to more parents and teachers so the list will really get used, and all these wonderful picture books will get lots of reads!

  43. Congrats to the winners!
    And this book looks GREAT! My kids would love it. So cute. Need to check the library this weekend for some fun new reads. :)

  44. I think you'll like this one. There are so many good-looking books on the list as always - I totally want to read Moonshot right this minute! Lucky the library isn't too far :)

  45. I linked earlier, I have to remember to check back to see if it comes up, hope it works this time :) It doesn't like me lol.

  46. It's there now at #24... I don't know why it didn't go up earlier, but some comments weren't coming thru earlier either... maybe Blogger issues? Sorry about that, and thanks for trying again!

  47. Yay! Congratulations Penny, Erik and Vivian! Great entries all! And
    glad to hear Frankenstein found a Valentine after all. :)

  48. Congratulations to Penny, Erik and Vivian! All excellent entries :)

    I can identify with Jeremy from your PPBF pick this week! The cover illustration is beautiful and the story sounds quite sweet

  49. Congrats Penny, Erik and Vivian! Great entries. I loved reading them.

    This looks like a great book. I love the cover. It's cool to know that Jeremy is in another book.

    Interesting stats for PPBF's!

  50. Big congratulations to the winners! A valentine involving Frankenstein is so creative, it's no wonder it took the prize!

    I had no idea that there was a sequel to Jeremy Draws a Monster. I have another book of Peter McCarty's out from the library right now called Henry in Love, and it is pretty cute. hmmm...maybe for next week's PPBF...

  51. It's a good one! I think you'd like it :) As an artist, Peter is interesting. He used to do a much more time consuming detailed method, but his publishers wanted faster work so he experimented with some different things and came up with this whole new style which is different but still very appealing, I think.

  52. I LOVE Henry In Love - I almost did it for Valentines Day week! And The Monster Returns literally just came out, so that might be why you haven't seen it yet :)

  53. Yes, I think Peter could do a whole bunch of Jeremy/Monster books...! And the PPBF stats are coming along!

  54. Congrats to all the winners. All the stories were so wonderful. I loved reading each and every one.

    This picture book selection sounds so adorable.

  55. WOW! PPB is huge now! Susanna, you have put a lot of hard work into making this resource what it is today. I have started using it to create my library book orders! I really like your PPB choice this week. I know kids who like to draw all the time (I was one of those kids!) It is easy to get lost in your own world, but it is important for kids to spend time with their friends, too. A great message delivered in a perfect way. :-)

  56. Congratulations to Penny, Erik and Vivian, well deserved. (I thought I had posted here...mmmm) Love the book review Susanna, although I am not one for monsters, this one looks too cute..... didn't know that was!

  57. You did post here, Diane. Something weird was up with Blogger or Disqus on Friday and our comment and 2 others came though to me but didn't post on the blog - go figure... Anyway, the monster in this book is pretty cute :) (although he's bossy and demanding!)

  58. It really is very well done. If you haven't read it, I think you;ll like it - and the first one too! Thanks for you kind words about PPBF - I really appreciate them! :) and everyone who world so hard to contribute and make it what it is!

  59. Thanks for reading, Angela! Maybe next time you'll want to submit and entry... :)


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