Pop up books are tough to review. Since the focus is usually on the paper wizardry, the story tends to take a back seat. Reviewing a pop up book for its story is like reviewing a Nutty Bar for its nutritional content – dude, the fat grams are important, but there’s more important (and delicious) stuff going on. The result of this focus on the paper engineering (and the fact that most pop ups are created for beginning readers) is wordless or nearly wordless stories. “I’m Looking for a Monster” is no exception. Keeping things simple in plot, illustration, and in pop up bells and whistles, Timothy Young puts forth a nice entry into the genre. An entertaining, highly portable pop up book for the youngest of readers.
As the story begins, our unnamed protagonist is doing exactly what the title says he’s gonna do. It turns out that monster searching ain’t easy. The boy has a certain kind of monster that he’s looking for. With each turn of the page, the boy lists his criteria as he encounters monsters that don’t really fit the bill. He wants “A big monster. But not THAT big”, after lifting the flap to reveal a giant. Too scary and too slimy are also not acceptable. In the end, the perfect monster is found and we discover why he has been searching.
Pop ups are not the only thing going on here. Each two-page spread contains a different paper novelty of some kind. The pull tab and the flap make solid guest appearances. There is also a turn wheel that is used nicely to make a monster’s horns grow into a giant, Seuss-esque set of antlers. A nice bonus? The book seems fairly rugged, ensuring many repeat readings before the construction starts to fall apart.
While I’m not in love with silhouette illustrations, here they’re appropriate given the nighttime setting. The all black images stand out nicely with the bold, single color backgrounds.
“I’m Looking for a Monster” is not the Robert Sabuda-created feat of paper engineering that has dominated the genre in recent years. That’s okay – sometimes sound fundamentals will do just fine.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.