Babymouse (#9): Monster Mash
By Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
Random House
ISBN: 9780375937897
$11.99 (Hardcover)
Grades 2-5
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My worst Halloween costume ever? A member of the hip-hop group (I prefer “crew”) Kris Kross. What can I say? It was the early 90s and I was a fan. In later years I realized that the costume you pick says a lot about your personality. Pick a police officer? You’re trying to be cool. Pick a recently popular figure in the media? You’re trying to be funny. But that’s mostly just for guys. Girls have a whole other set of unwritten Halloween rules, and in “Babymouse: Monster Mash” we see how those rules can have an impact on your social life. Full of the same wit that has been an unfailing hallmark of the Babymouse series, “Monster Mash” is a graphic novel full of the sort of real-life friend troubles that younger readers will identify with.

It’s October and Babymouse is thinking about Halloween. When her mother gives the okay to a post-trick-or-treating party, Babymouse can’t wait. She starts inviting guests, but the invitee list soon gets out of hand. She even invites Felicia and her posse (a.k.a. the cool kids). But these new friends soon start making demands that our heroine isn’t eager to go along with. Although she wants to go as either a warewolf or a zombie, Felicia insists Babymouse choose a prettier costume (it’s a rule). Next, Babymouse is forced to ditch her true friends and trick-or-treat with Felicia and the gang. When trick-or-treat turns into T.P.-ing and egging houses, Babymouse realizes that no friends are worth getting in that much trouble for.

Once I started reading, it was hard to put this one down. Babymouse books have a way of keeping the reader engaged all the way through. Be it with daydream sequences, humorous situations, or moments of genuine feeling, the plot never plods.

The illustrations, created in ink, as inventive as ever. This is the first Babymouse book to forego the pink color scheme in favor of an appropriate pumpkin orange. I think this was a smart move. Not only does it instantly I.D. this as a halloween title, but the absence of pink might also result in more boys picking it up.

Entertaining through and through, “Monster Mash” is a book you should have on hand.

Visit Matthew Holm’s blog.

Also reviewed by A Year of Reading.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.