Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

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Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott
Buy Even Monsters Need Haircuts from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Even Monsters Need Haircuts from Amazon.com

Genre: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luci Davin
Reviewed by Luci Davin
Summary: A bizarre but brilliant book about providing a service for a niche clientele, with illustrations that are perfect for sharing a laugh.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-1408813935

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The title of this picture book is really intriguing. I admit I had not previously thought much about the needs of the customers in a story before. It's written in the first person, so we never learn the name of the boy who is the main character. This seems unusual for children's picture books, and the only other one I can think of offhand is The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss.

At night, the boy opens his father's barber shop for business for some very unusual customers – monsters!

This is quite a short book with just a few words on each page, leaving plenty of time to talk about the illustrations, which we enjoyed and laughed at a lot. These are colourful with lots of details to look for and spot – with some little jokes for more mature readers sharing the story with children. I think this is an excellent example of a picture book as something to be shared and enjoyed together.

There are lots of figures from popular culture sources including horror films, comics and ancient myths – Frankenstein's monster, Medusa (the boy barber must work blindfold and not look at the snakes on her head) - and others from the illustrator's own imagination - I liked the witch with her baby monster in his buggy. Some want a haircut, others appear to be dropping by for the company and chat.

This is a very odd book, and it's hard to be sure who it's aimed at, but our TV addicted 3 year old loves it and so do his parents. Some of the pictures could be a little scary but I think the overall mood and humour of this book makes this crowd of monsters seem like something to laugh at. I'm more concerned by boy barber's mistake shown in the final illustration than troubled by the pictures. Thank you very much to Bloomsbury for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

There are lots of good stories for small children about monsters – my all time favourite is Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. Another Bookbag recommendation is Billy Monster's Daymare.

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