One Monster After Another
by Mercer Mayer
Golden Press, 1974
You know, whenever I hit an author often, I feel guilty that I'm not getting around enough, but hey, eventually I'm gonna run out of books to blog about right? (RIGHT?) Mayer wrote a TON of books (some genius and some wretchedly crappy), and as this is one of the most collectable picture books from my childhood era, I had to give it props.
Yes, I did worship the whole Beatrix Potter collection. Yes, Kate Greenaway was one of my idols. Yes, there is an original watercolor by Tasha Tudor in my son's room. But damn it, being from a broken home, I worshipped Mayer's Just Me and My Dad. I used to visit it at the book store when I was 6 years old... and though I don't remember when I actually got a copy of my own, that and Just For You were two of my favorites. (I read on the Wiki that Just For You --released in 1975-- was subsequently published less five of the original pages. My son's been reading a newer, bastardized edition. SAVE ME EBAY!)
That said, I never saw this book until last year, and had I seen it when I was wee, odds are it would have scared the crap out of me. My son, however, loves it. Yea, it is about monsters, but the monsters (some of them at least) are funny, funny, funny. The premise is clever. A little girl mails a letter, and the letter runs into a series of monsters, each out to get the letter from a myriad of different angles. Mayer loves to make up crazy, make-believe words like Bombanat and Grumley and Typhoonigator and Yalapappus. If your kid is anything like mine, I'm sure he'd love to hear you try and read the words FURIOUS-FLOATING ICE-FERG without busting a gut.
The Paper-Munching Yalapappus trundled after him,
shouting and loudly grimming.
I mean, what the hell does that even mean!?! Kids eat this stuff up. Please do yourself a favor and keep your eye out for a copy of this book. The Rainbird paperback edition from 1993 can still be picked up affordably. I believe I bought my copy at Half-Price Books for $2.95. Score! (And do check out the Little Critter series circa the 70s. Those first few titles were great even if the newer ones aren't as imaginative.)
Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp
Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-A-Zoo
Me and My Flying Machine
A Special Trick
Little Monster at Work
One Frog Too Many
How the Trollusk Got His Hat
Beauty and the Beast