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Monsters on Machines    by Deb Lund & Robert Neubecker order for
Monsters on Machines
by Deb Lund
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

In Monsters on Machines, noted children's author Deb Lund employs her characteristic rhyming schemes to a story about monster children who spend their day on a construction crew, building with their special machines.

The monsters have such appealing names as Stinky Stubb, Vile Melvina, Dirty Dugg, and of course, Foreman Gorbert (who could be a cousin of Sesame Street's Cookie Monster). The goal of the monsters is to build a color-clashing, off-kilter building, which they accomplish with 'disgusting delight.' The monsters have to take a lunch break with mama's monsteroni and cheese and, of course, storytime. (Mama reads them a book called Beastly Builders.)

The language humorously reflects the monsters' uninhibited playtime:
'Flinging dirt like tornadoes, they holler and hoot.
(Monsters love getting grimy from hard hat to boot.)
They're transformed by the tractor, the crawler, the paver.
But bulldozers bring out true monster behavior.

The monster children are delightfully ghoulish, with green or hairy faces, three eyes, or pointy ears. One of my favorite parts of the book is actually the end pages, which feature illustrations of some of the machines, some of which have monsterific names such as a crushermusher, a goober scooper, a fiend grubber, a monster-vater, and a ghoster grader.

This book was a departure from the author's noted children's books, All Aboard the Dinotrain and Dinosailor, both of which I liked better, though Monsters on Machines is a good read for preschoolers, particularly those children fascinated by buildings and tools.

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