Tuesday, May 13, 2008

One Monster After Another

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.)

Also by:
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
Bubble Bubble
One Frog Too Many
How the Trollusk Got His Hat
Beauty and the Beast


colleeeen said...

oh wow! i had this one when i was a kid and had completely forgotten it. i'm with you - good Mercer Mayer is golden, bad Mercer Mayer is painful.

DAE said...

I had completely forgotten about this one as well! I remember it was a very popular one in my elementary school library - there was practically a waiting list for it! This is one of many children's books where I can pinpoint the origin of parts of my drawing style - to this day I draw bat wings w. the tiny claw at the joint exactly like the little flying creature's in this book...

peachey said...

this was my absolute favorite book as a child. hands down.

Amy June Bates said...

Absolutely my very favorite book as a child! Although you might think it is a scary concept- kids get the humor and it is much more ridiculous than anything. Loads to look at on every page.
My favorite line:
"He garbled away with a smirk on his snerk"

Ryan MCFC said...

AHHH! I love this book so much. I just bought a new copy about five years ago because I always found myself thinking back to the pleasure I had reading it. Still just as wonderful. How can it be out of print again?

Also great, and also out of print, http://www.amazon.com/Professor-Wormbog-Search-Zipperump-zoo/dp/1879920042/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_11
I don't know maybe you've covered this on here already, but I'm new to your great blog!

Anonymous said...

Over the ocean of bubbly goo the letter eating bombat flew!

Anonymous said...

Have loved this book from the moment I could read. My two boys now read my copy and all of my family knows it by heart. Amazingly, through thousands of reading and about 38 years, this book has managed to survive in great shape! I know my grandchildren will love it as much as I did.

Anonymous said...

My favorite book as a kid. Made my mom read it over and over. Looking for it for my son.

Justine said...

I loved this book as a child and my 5 year old daughter loves it just as much now - I saved my original copy. Amazing illustrations.

Justine said...

I loved this book as a child and kept my original copy,. My 5 yer old daughter now loves it as much as I did. Amazing illustrations!

d101 said...

I only remembered the name "typhoonigator " and found my way back to this book. I mentioned it to my parents and they promptly led me to my old book from the 1970's. Also a book illustrated by mayer " everyone knows what a dragon looks like" was there as well. Check this one out. Art work is amazing.

Domingo said...

This was absolutely one of my favorite books growing up, and I've longed to find a copy of it as I no longer have the one from my childhood! I vividly remember the artwork but was unable to recall the title until I ran across your blog!

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