Well, hello friends. My name is Dawson J. Brownlee. You may have seen me on ALL the social media — usually accompanied with an obscene and unnecessary amount of tags from the hash. Because my mom is a filter addict and thinks people are interested in hearing more about my latest finger-painting escapades and shit. And I do mean my literal shit. Because everyone wants to have their latest BM documented and chronicled for later reference, am I right? #momprobsbro.
We don’t always see eye to eye on things. But I dig her. She brings me the rice cakes and praises my experimental dance moves. You need people like that in your life. Also, the whole birth thing. She’ll never let that one go.
A little about myself and what I plan on doing here: I am an avid reader, booger connoisseur, one hell of a poker player, and not currently seeking a mate (my apologies to all the eager lady babies).
My mom has given me this monthly feature to share some of my latest reads with the world. You should know she doesn’t pay or censure me. So, take that as you will and be kinder than necessary in your responses. Because Jesus doesn’t like when people are a-holes to toddlers.
I wanted to make sure I started this thing out with the right book. Something that appealed to the young and super old (like daddy). Something that kept your attention, made you think, made you completely unaware that it is actually bedtime. Uh, basically, something that just didn’t suck or make me nervous laugh (which leads to the pee).
I went through millions (or maybe four) books to find the perfect one to begin this series with. Months (perhaps it was just a day) went into this search. Finally, the perfect one was located.
First up, a new favorite of mine, The Monstore by Tara Lazar.
Bloody genius concept. And one I am currently preparing myself for. Dude wants a full-proof way to scare his baby sister from bothering him. A secret store that sells a variety of monsters for your everyday needs? Take all my money, Lazar. Do it quickly.
Side note: I won’t have my new sis until August, but I am told they can be real dicks about personal space. And, like most young dudes, I have my secret, special things that I just don’t need anyone snooping around and getting all their like — glitter, gold stars, scented pinecones? that’s what chicks are made of, right? — yeh, I don’t need that crap anywhere near my hotwheels collection.
In other words, I can relate.
Back to the book. From the very first line, I was hooked. Lazar didn’t waste any time on putting us right in the action. My attention span is still in the developing stage so I really don’t have much to spare waiting for things to get juicy.
I am a big illustration guy. I’m drawn to bright colors, whimsical shapes, and if there are things I can lift up or touch — sign me the freak up. While this wasn’t a very interactive book (no scratch and sniff distractions), it did score high marks for the colorful design and fun play with the different sizes and shapes of the monsters involved. I also really enjoyed how the illustrator, Mr. James Burks, was able to give our villain a look that caused immediate distrust and was just creepy enough to keep things interesting. But not overly scary as to add to those night terrors mom has been reading about.
If I had to summarize this book in one word it would be exciting. I found myself eagerly awaiting each page. Would we meet a new monster? Would this one finally help Zack achieve his goal? Where the heck are this guy’s parents and how does he have enough currency (bags of squirmy worms) to keep purchasing these fellas?
I had a slight moment of panic when our hero is cast down to the basement. For an entire four pages (basically eternity) I was on the edge of my seat, praying that Zack would make it through and that all was not lost.
The only part that fell a bit (and just a wee wee bit) flat to me was the climax. I would have liked a more sinister or extraordinary twist — but we did see resolution and it was a bit of a surprise, so I will let this one thing go… because the rest of it, seriously rocked. Hard.
The book wraps up nicely with a very clever ending that gives us hope for a sequel. Chubby bebe fingers crossed there is more to this tale!
As I said, it’s a current favorite of mine. I require at least one reading a day. If I am particularly gassy, the minimum is two. Sometimes I request a follow-up with a light-hearted Seuss classic — depending how dark the room or my mood has become.
Mom said it’s actually recommended for 4 and up, but I am rather mature for my age, already typing up to 68 WPM, so, I feel like I have enough life experience to appreciate such a thriller. But precede with caution.
Since the book revolves around monsters, you might be quick to assume it is more geared towards baby dudes. And I assure you, most dudes will indeed enjoy it, but Gracie’s strong presence and ability to steal the show, will have baby girls (especially annoying, eh, precious baby sisters) identifying and applauding her on. That’s rare these days.
Visit the author’s amazing website here where you can learn more about the characters and buy the damn thing.
If you have any suggestions of books that I would love and immediately demand money to purchase, please leave it in the comments below.
Thanks for stopping and sitting through my rambles. Next up, another gem: Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman. I am not as familiar with the wearing of said pants, but I hear the it’s the latest rage for all the 3 and ups.