Russell Hoban ~ Quentin Blake ~ Victor Gollancz, 1989
Speaking of Steig and the 1980s, this book has recently moved into the favorite's fold. The monster drawings and descriptions remind me of Steig's Rotten Island, and having a child who loves to draw one particular thing over and over, I can appreciate our main character's, um... interest.
John liked to draw monsters.
He drew monsters that looked like puddings with teeth, he drew monsters that had hundreds of eyes and odd numbers of ears, he drew scaly monsters, furry monsters, vegetable and mineral monsters, and unheard-of monsters that were so monstrous they had to be invisible so they wouldn't scare themselves to death.
John's parents don't really understand his urge to illustrate all things icky, but it's when he begins to draw a monster so huge and, well, monstrous that it takes days and reams and reams of brown wrapping paper, they turn to his art teacher for answers."I shouldn't worry about it if I were you," said Mr. Splodge.
"Boys are naturally a little monstrous."
When that doesn't squelch their worry, a shrink is next in line, but when the good doctor asks to see John complete the monster, well, let's just say his folks might need a second opinion.
So many times I'll pick up a book that looks awesome, but then on the first read, it doesn't live up to the cover. This, however, is a book that delivers on all levels. Blake's drawings, as usual, are hysterical and right on... and Hoban (this is my new fave of his, sorry Francis!) shines with a story that is a sweet, ode to the imagination of childhood, while standing on the rated-G brink of being a horror story. Love it!
Perfect, perfect, perfect.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas
Mole's Family Christmas
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