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Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie: A revolting rhyme with delicious drawings    by Judy Sierra & Edward Koren order for
Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie
by Judy Sierra
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I started reading and my smile grew and grew just like Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie. Its engaging verses take off (literally at one point) in a hilarious revision of another favorite of mine, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.

Judy Sierra begins 'Thelonius Monster / once swallowed a fly, / and decided that flies would taste / grand in a pie. / That silly guy!' Edward Koren's drawings of the antics of this silly, scruffy monster perfectly complement the song. After getting e-mail advice from a 'savvy insider' spider, Thelonius rolls out a 'molasses and sugar and honey and glue' goo 'of astonishing size' to catch flies.

He stealthily hangs out around all kinds of creatures, and checks out the stinkiest places - 'He lured hundreds / and thousands / of succulent flies ... to his fly-catching pie' and then invites his 'disgusting-est friends and relations' to dine. The pie glistened and hummed - and then the fly pie flew. But it all ends well, of course, for monsters and flies, and especially for Thelonius as host.

Grab the nearest child and read, roar, sing, and shout this supremely silly song together. It will be a big winner for all ages.

2nd Review by J. A. Kaszuba Locke:

Thelonius Monster has a remarkable tale to tell. He is going to bake a pie, not just ordinary apple or blueberry. No, no - he will bake a pie full of flies, yup, the flying insect kind.

Thelonius seeks advice from a spider through an email to 'Arachnid@Spider.Net'. After searching for flies all over the place, Thelonius uses the spider's suggestion to make 'something sticky'. He 'concocted a goo / of molasses and sugar and honey and glue / and he rolled out the crust of astonishing size'. Invitations were mailed to 'his aunties, / his uncles, / his cousins, / his chums' to dine on 'Sky-High Fly Pie'. The party took off with a resounding 'VOOM'.

Judy Sierra is noted for retelling folktales, as well as her own original stories. Her Wild About Books received many awards including the annual E. B. White Read Aloud Award and the National Parenting Publications Gold Award. Edward Koren's trademark hairy, big-nosed people works well for Thelonious Monster, a huggable-looking character, done in the style of air-brushed pencil drawings. Koren also published his own book, Very Hairy Harry.

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