What Makes a Monster? by Jess Keating and illustrated by David DeGrand

cover 1

This cover is sure to grab a child’s attention!

What Makes a Monster?: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures by Jess Keating and illustrated by David De Grand

ISBN-13: 978-0553512304
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 8, 2017)
Series: The World of Weird Animals
Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4
WorldCat Permalink: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/953525401

Summary and Thoughts
The author of Pink is for Blobfish is back to inform young readers about more weird animals.  This time, she focuses on 17 creatures that are monstrous in either looks or behavior.  Emily Bayci states in her review for School Library Journal, “A great addition for collections where horror and animal fans dominate” (Emily Bayci: reviewed 07/01/2017 for School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 7, p100).  What library doesn’t have animal fans?!? Even though, this didn’t receive any starred reviews, I think that it would make a good purchase for the nonfiction collection.  It is a lot of fun for the kiddos who like things a little bit creepy.

Check out this opening page….

inside page 1

This will definitely be an attention-grabber for some children!  It kind of builds suspense but isn’t too scary, possibly due to the intensely bright and bold color scheme  Each of these monstrous creatures’ information are contained on a two page spread.  First page is the photograph introducing the “monster”.  The second page gives a paragraph description, fun fact, and sidebar with all the technical information about the creature, such as species name, diet, and habitat.
inside page 2

inside page 3

The author leaves the reader with something to ponder by introducing the last monster, humans.  She discusses, “our intelligence has allowed us to survive on every continent on the planet by developing tools to fend off predators and technology to improve our chances for survival” (Keating 2017).


What? Me, a MONSTER?!?

Also included at the end of this informational book are a couple pages of thought-provoking follow-up questions and a glossary.

Nonfiction recommendations for elementary-age kids who would like to learn more about unusual animals:
100 Most Feared Creatures on the Planet by Anna Claybourne (2013)
Guinness World Records: Incredible Animals by Christa Roberts (2016)
Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals by Charles Ghigna (2016)
Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating (2016)
Crooked Critters and Extreme Living from the Things that Make You Go Yuck! Series by Jenn Dlugos (2016)

Extension Activity

This fun website will delight kids who would like to learn some weird facts about animals. The website offers video clips too!


3 thoughts on “What Makes a Monster? by Jess Keating and illustrated by David DeGrand

  1. I think you’re absolutely right about this being an attention grabber for children. I have a 7 and a 5 year old, and I know that they would love this book. The pictures are really vibrant, and they have a bit of a love/hate relationship with anything mildly scary. The book looks really fun because of the picture of the human you included. This is another book I will definitely be adding to my list of books to check out from the library!

    Liked by 1 person

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