About the Holiday
Today we celebrate the birthday of Mary Shelley who was born on August 30, 1797. Shelley is well-known as the author of Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, one of the most read and most influential novels of all time. And she published it at the age of 22! The novel depicts the story of Victor Frankenstein, who creates a human-like creature from cadavers, only to be repulsed by it and reject it once he has brought it to life. The “monster” is much more than the sum of its parts, however, and begins a quest for education and understanding. While the “Creature” had a dual personality, its greatest wish was to be looked on not as a monster, but as a thinking, feeling person. The novel leads many to ask, “who is the real monster, anyway?”
Quit Calling Me a Monster!
Written by Jory John | Illustrated by Bob Shea
A purple, hairy guy with long stick legs and arms and long bent toes and fingers rides his bike along the street, catching a butterfly on his finger and carefully transporting a basketful of flowers. But all the kids on the school bus see as he passes is the purple, the legs, the arms, the fingers and the toes. And all the guy sees is the wide eyes and fearful expressions of the kids in the windows.
So he stands his ground, craggy hands on hips and says, “Quit calling me a monster! Just…stop it, right this minute!” He’s serious! In fact he throws a bit of a fit, rolling on the ground and spouting, “It really hurts my feelings. I’m no monster!” Just because he may have a few monster-ish qualities like horns and fangs and wild eyes and crazy hair. And yes, he knows he has “a huge toothy smile that glows in the dark.” And, yeah, ok, so he’s not exactly a wallflower and can “roar, holler, scream, whoop, and cackle,” and likes to hide where his discovery will frighten someone most…he still says, “It really bothers me when you call me a monster without even thinking about it.”
Kids are always yelling, “‘Mommy, save me from that monster!” when he’s just trying to shop or complaining that there’s a monster under the bed when he’s just trying to sleep. Can he help it that his claws reach upward or that he growls when he dreams? Does he ever call kids names? Does he ever taunt someone as a “meat snack?” No! And that’s because he’s “a monster with excellent manners!”
Umm…Well, I mean…he doesn’t “mean monster, exactly….” Oh, all right, if you’re going to get persnickety about it, he does have all those monster-ish traits and his parents are monsters, but he really doesn’t “like being called a monster one little bit.” If you want to call him, you can use his name, which is a very respectable Floyd Peterson. Now that that is settled, our purple friend is going to bed…in your closet. So if you hear him snoring in the middle of the night, you can rest assured that there is no monster in your closet, it’s just Floyd Peterson.
Jory John gives hilarious voice to the frustrations of being labeled as someone or something you’re not while also affirming that it’s okay to be who you really are. Snap judgements based on preconceived notions or stereotypes limits a person’s world view and the friends they can make. And what’s wrong with being a “monster” or “Floyd Peterson” or (insert word here) anyway? Kids and adults will laugh as Floyd lists page after page of his monster-ish qualities while also denying that he is, indeed, a monster. The ending is sweet and kid-like and puts to bed fear of the unknown.
Bob Shea’s monster, aka Floyd Peterson, is a frighteningly endearing character that kids will whole-heartedly embrace. Floyd’s coarse purple hair, scrawny legs and arms, and big grin along with his range of personas, from alarming to loveable, will make kids giggle. The bright solid backgrounds put the focus on Floyd and all of his roaring, flailing, and leaping—just as Floyd (and all little monsters) sometimes want and need.
Ages 3 – 7
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016 | ISBN 978-0385389907
Jory John has a whole gallery of books for you to discover on his website!
Discover Bob Shea‘s “Books for Really Smart Kids” on his website!
Quit what you’re doing and watch this book trailer!
Frankenstein Day Activity
Merry Monsters Coloring Page
These two cute monsters want to play, but first they need a little color! Get out your crayons, markers, or pencils and fix them up! Here’s your printable Merry Monsters Coloring Page! Now, it’s your turn – if you were a monster, what would you look like? Draw yourself as a Magnificent Monster!
Picture Book Review