Perfect Picture Book Friday-Mostly Monsterly

Yea! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. Today I am going to tell you about the book I have read more times than any other picture book.

 Mostly Monsterly
Written by Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (August 31, 2010)
Ages 5-8
 Themes: Differences, Being Misunderstood, Individuality, Humor

Opening Lines: “On the outside Bernadette was mostly monsterly. She lurched. She growled. She caused mayhem of all kinds. But underneath the fangs and the fur, Bernadette had a deep…dark…secret.”

Brief Synopsis: (from Amazon) Bernadette might seem like an ordinary monster, but sometimes she likes to do some very unmonsterlike things, like pick flowers. And pet kittens. And bake. When the time comes for Bernadette to go to Monster Academy, she’s just a teensy bit nervous. Her classmates just don’t understand her. They’d rather uproot trees than sing friendship songs. And they prefer fried snail goo to Bernadette’s homemade cupcakes with sprinkles. Can Bernadette find a way to make friends at school and still be herself?

Resources: Although, I didn’t find any resources for teachers, I did find the special recipe for Cupcakes With Sprinkles from Tammi’s website. Also, I believe a teacher could use Bernadette’s cards as fun examples for a Halloween project. Believe me (as a retired teacher)…if a teacher reads this book,  ideas will come. Maybe one of you will come up with some activities to share on the Internet.

Why I Like This Book: It’s monstrously fun. It’s monstrously cute. It’s monstrously, cleverly written and illustrated. But, on to why I like the story….Bernadette is too sweet for a monster. This is evident as she makes numerous attempts at friendship with her monster classmates. They don’t understand Bernadette and she doesn’t understand them. But  Bernadette is a smart little monster, too, and watches them at recess. “They’re acting like total monsters.” said Bernadette. That is when she has her “Ah Ha!” moment. She goes right to work and comes up with a monstrously, monsterly idea. When all is said and done, Bernadette finds a way to be friends but still stays unique and “mostly monsterly.”

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book on her blog on Fridays. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and, mainly, just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed is a link to information about that book. It is very handy.

38 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday-Mostly Monsterly

  1. Pingback: Calvin Can’t Fly by Jennifer Berne & Illustrated by Keith Bendis « Book Reviews by Mrs. LaCaze

  2. Yay! So honored to see Bernadette causing some mayhem on your blog. 🙂

    Btw…small bilingual copies of Mostly Monsterly are currently available for FREE in specially marked boxes of Cheerios.

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  3. And that’s what i love about reading and rereading books…there are so many messages…and each time we read it..and each different person who reads it…can find a new and different message.

    Love the selection, Penny! I really admire your study of picture books you read and love…I tend to just read them…but maybe because I read so many, some of the craft of those authors will rub off on me. 🙂

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    • One of the reasons I signed up for PPBF is to help me learn to write a premise or to sum up the idea of a book. I am close to submitting and one of the most difficult things for me to do is to pitch my book for a query letter. I thought this would probably help. So…it does take me a while to write my reviews, but I feel I am learning and honing my skills for writing a pitch.
      I’m with you….I hope the craft of the authors I admire will rub off on me, too.

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    • I don’t really think it’s about judging people by what they look like…because they all look like monsters! But it does show how Bernadette can find a way to make friends and still be herself. Thanks for dropping by Erik.

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  4. I nearly fell flat on my face when I read, you replied to a comment that you currently have 32 books out to read….how on earth do you have time….?
    This was a fun book and I so want to know how she managed to “fit in” as well as staying uniquely Bernadette! A monster check at the local library tomorrow…. (just as well I have the day off work)…lol.

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    • All 32 are picture books. So I treat myself to blocks of time to read through 5 or 6. Then I set aside the ones I like and want to study for craft purposes and keep them around a few weeks to reread. Then I make time to read a few more. During this process, I make a list or just take the PPBF list and check out some more! I have read over and over again that we should read hundreds of picture books….so I try to make that a big part of my quest to get published. It has changed and improved my writing.

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  5. I love monster books and there aren’t enough! I once thought of writing one but the critiques came back at too preachy because I had a lesson in it. I may continue work on it sometime. Monsters are so universal. Every kid can relate in many ways.

    Thanks for adding this selection to PPBF. 🙂

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    • I relate to the ever growing list! I have 32 picture books checked out from the library right now. I have read them all. Some of them are research for a manuscript I’m working on…but most are suggestions from Perfect Picture Book Friday.

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    • Thanks, Natalie. I read, read, read. I mentioned in another comment that I currently have 32 books checked out from the library. That doesn’t count any of this week’s Perfect Picture Book Friday suggestions from all of you. I have several on hold, too! I have my PPBF list for the next several postings. I haven’t written the posts yet, but I know what books I want to suggest. PPBF has been a great tool for me in choosing books to read so that I can learn from the best authors what works and what doesn’t.

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  6. Although there perhaps aren’t activities specific to this book, there will certainly be activities to go with the themes. Kids could act out the story, they could talk about the monsterly things that they do, they could think of ways that they could help other kids fit in, even if they weren’t quite the same… there’s lots of scope in this book, it seems to me.

    Sounds great — of course it is, it’s by Tammi Sauer!

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    • Yes, I believe it would be easy for a teacher to use this in a classroom. And, sometimes, it just fun to have great choices to read….theme or no theme. Wouldn’t it be fun to read it right before recess and then have the students come back and make cards for Bernadette?

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  7. Hi, Penny. This book has been on my radar for a long time, but I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet. You definitely have me intrigued now. I want to know what idea Bernadette comes up with!

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  8. I LOVE Mostly Monsterly! This is at least the third book on the list so far today that I had in mind for future posts. i love that other’s agree and love it too! We’ll have to think about resources – it seems like we ought to be able to think some good ones up. Maybe we should ask Tammi 🙂 Thanks for sharing this marvelous, fun book!

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    • To me, this book is a great model for picture book writers. It just seems to be a map for all good elements. I got to hear Tammi speak at a conference this fall. She was amazing. I was in awe.

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  9. Well, Penny, when a retired teacher tells me this is the picture book she had read more than any other, I know we are on to a good story! I do, of course, want to know what her monstrously monsterly idea is!

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