Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little Miss Mary and the Big Monster Makeover (Gleb Toropov and Cleone Cassidy)

Overall: 3.9   ҉
  • Content: 3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 4.8/5
  • Illustrations: 3.8/5
Little Miss Mary and the Big Monster Makeover by Gleb Toropov and Cleone Cassidy

Little Miss Mary receives an unwelcome visitor in the grotesque shape of a huge, hairy monster. However, instead of being petrified by the apparition, Mary decides to help the hideous beast by giving him a makeover. In the process, it is Mary who undergoes the biggest transformation.
Genre:
Children's Literature
Purchase Links:
Kindle
Hardcover
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Other Links:
book website
Meet Little Miss Mary, an eleven-year-old with a credit card in one hand and a designer purse in the other. Tired from a long day of shopping, she is awakened by a monster climbing out of her closet. His unkempt visage and terrible body odor prompt her to initiate a makeover for the endearingly clueless beast.

The book is written in comfortably rhythmic verse that flows smoothly from the tongue (so long as you are familiar with designer names). The beat was surprisingly consistent and the story moves along quickly enough to maintain a young child's interest. Its length may require the slightly longer attention span of children over the age of four.

Little Miss Mary gives Hollywood celebrities a run for their money with her rampant consumerism. While the story is certainly fun and upbeat, I found myself questioning the sort of lifestyle it promotes, one in which her mother is a walking credit card and her father is a workaholic whose sole purpose is to foot her bill. The excessive number of designer names mentioned throughout the story may limit the accessibility of this tale to those unfamiliar with haute couture. These names also make it more difficult for children to read the words for themselves.

Little Miss Mary's change of heart is abrupt, even with the suspension of belief that is requisite when reading children's picture books. It would have been helpful to have had a stronger connection spelled out between giving a monster a makeover and experiencing a profound, internal change.

The illustrations in this book are simplistic but pleasing. They show up well on computer monitors and Kindle screens, though Little Miss Mary's wide-eyed expressions were a bit creepy no matter which medium you choose. The monster also reminds me of Sully from Monsters, Inc., but with wings.

On the whole, Little Miss Mary and the Big Monster Makeover is a fun read that is highly suited for those with a sense of humor and a strong familiarity with expensive clothing labels.

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