Review of “Monster Museum”

Singer, Marilyn.  Monster Museum. Hyperion. 2009. ISBN: 9781423121008

Nine brave souls and a two-headed rat enter the Monster Museum as part of a school field trip.  They are assured by the tour guide that they will encounter “some creepy surprises” and they can read all about them in the brochure.  The children see an ogre, a troll, a banshee, ghosts, a mummy, Count Dracula, Medusa and  a zombie (just to name a few).  Each monster has its own story and children can push the button to hear each display explain their predicament.  Luckily, by the end of the tour, all the children (and the rat) have made it out alive and have some new, monster friends to take back on the school bus with them.

As a poem picture book, this one really does a great job showing the reader who they are reading about.  Vardell states, “In a poem picture book, the illustrations help provide on vision of the poem’s meaning.  This can help introduce young readers to longer, narrative poems or classic works” (115).  Using books such as this to show a silly side of poetry, but also give an intro to perhaps mythology, then we would get better visuals from readers.  Even older readers who are not familiar with the story of Frankenstein or his monster without a name (though in the novel, the monster calls himself “Adam”) can get an idea of how these monsters and characters are perceived in popular culture.

Kirkus Reviews (Sept 15, 2001) commented on the book by stating, “Singer’s poems are lively and humorous (if not great literature), and they impart quite a bit of information about various famous monsters. A “Glos-scary” offers excellent definitions of all the monster variations, with enough concrete information and background to satisfy the most committed monster maniac.”  The glossary is another element of the poetic children’s books.  It adds to the knowledge of the monsters.  This would be an excellent transition into an activity where students could do research (even the beloved web-quests) on one of the monsters.  They could present their findings to the class and connect the poetic picture book story to the original story of the monster.  Who wouldn’t love to write a report on Gremlins?

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