Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book 320: I'm a Monster Truck

I'm a Monster Truck, by Dennis Shealy, illustrated by Bob Staake, Little Golden Books, 2011.

I am NOT a monster truck person.  School bus races aside, demolition derbies and monster truck rallies are not my idea of fun.  I'm also not a five-year-old boy.  But I do have a five-year-old boy.  And diesel fuel seems to run through the veins of five-year-old boys.

Dennis Shealy did a better job with the writing of I'm a Monster Truck than he did with a I'm a Truck.  The writing is shorter and tighter, and more action-packed and less descriptive.  Descriptive writing is fine in chapter books, but for picture books, especially picture books that are "geared" for boys, descriptive writing slows down the pace of the book.  And, if you have an exceptional illustrator, descriptive writing is redundant.

Bob Staake is an exceptional illustrator.  I'm not a monster truck person, but I find the bright red snaggletoothed Mudenstein (and the cats in the audience) utterly charming.  And my five-year-old son finds Mudenstein utterly irresistible.


  1. Golden Books of yore were often exceptional for the quality of their illustrations, but their literary value was negligible. I think the company has worked hard to improve this equation, but it would be difficult for mere words to compete with Bob Staake's illustrations!