Children Book Reviews: Shock Value


If you are looking for three unconventional story books, look no further than our next three book reviews…

By Jennifer Evangelista


Arlo Needs Glasses

By Barney Saltzberg

Ages: 3 to 6

This interactive page-turner comes alive. There’s so much to do, pull, and see in this board book. It has simple sentences that are easy to follow. In no time at all, my two year old learned the lines by heart.

It is ingenious and useful to parents who need to introduce the surprising idea of wearing glasses to their kids. The cutest thing about this book is naming the fuzzy hero ‘Arlo’. Have you ever heard a toddler (try to) pronounce the letters R and L?

Every child needs this book, like Arlo needs his glasses.



Yuck! That’s not a Monster!

By Angela McAllister & Alison Edgson

Ages: 2 and up

“Mr. Monster kept them warm by huffing his hot, stinky breath.” This is the beginning of a few things that may take you by surprise. Other surprises are intrinsically monstrous; the dad monster wanted to throw his eyelash-batting, squish-worthy, sweet smiling newborn out to the trash. There is definitely some cringe-inducing violence hidden in the supposed humor.

 The rest of the book follows the ugly duckling formula in reverse. The uber cuddly monster can grow up to be scary after all. The artwork is similar to cartoons seen back in the 80’s and 90’s; it is bright, two-dimensional and mostly prosaic.

In the end, if you can look past the feral quintessence of the characters, this book teaches about wholehearted acceptance and unconditional love; qualities integral in building a preschooler’s character. And there’s nothing yucky about that.



Yummy! Eight Favorite Fairy Tales

By Lucy Cousins

Ages: 3 to 7

Shockingly graphic yet artistically pleasing, Yummy! is a collection of eight tales and nursery rhymes as old as time. Nary of sugarcoats and fairy dust, Cousins retells seemingly innocent classics vividly with a punch of brashness.

This book may be better saved for the older set Faint-hearted parents may find some storylines all too-gruesome, all-too-soon for their innocent wide-eyed darlings.

The title perfectly describes the beautiful illustrations. They are an ode to modern art where villains prance in striped suits — outwardly cheery yet unabashedly dark in their core. These pages fit right into MOMA’s gift shop, if not its own walls.


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