From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Monster siblings Natalie and Alphonse are back. Natalie can’t wait to read aloud to Alphonse. She gets her first beginner reading book about a cat. The letters all look like prickles and bird feet. Nothing interesting happens to that cat. It just sits. Natalie decides she doesn’t like books anymore and doesn’t wish to read, ever. Instead, she will make up stories and tell them to Alphonse. He suggests that her story must be in a book with pictures. They draw the pictures, and Natalie dictates the story to their dad as he writes it down. Natalie can mostly read the book they’d written. Primary color and screen-printed illustrations depict the simple yet endearing monsterlike characters. Creative use of thick black lines adds detail and illustrates how Natalie sees letters as bird feet, squiggles, and scratches floating across the page. The thick lines also complement the bold kidlike font, creating child-pleasing typography. New readers will understand Natalie’s frustrations. VERDICT The siblings’ spirited approach to literacy could also spark inspiration in children to create their own stories and not give up to prickles and bird feet. An appealing read-aloud for those not slightly ready to read on their own.-Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Servicesα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Straightforward, empathic prose and screen-printed vignettes of biomorphic family life (red Natalie is amphibious-looking; Alphonse resembles a chunky blue rabbit) by Hirst (The Girl With the Parrot on Her Head) reassure whilst giving an emotionally fraught subject its full, unsentimental due. Natalie and Alphonse would approve.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Bold, primary colors against white space create supportive scenes peopled by this lovable family of adorable, Muppet-like monsters eager to nurture some perseverance and full of patience with Natalie’s struggle and ultimate accomplishment. Natalie is on her way to reap the pleasures of learning to read, as seen in the endpapers, by authoring her own storybooks, a recognized strategy to foster beginning readers. Learning to read can be hard, and this book offers youngsters tackling the skill needed sympathy.
The siblings’ spirited approach to literacy could also spark inspiration in children to create their own stories and not give up to prickles and bird feet. An appealing read-aloud for those not slightly ready to read on their own.
—School Library Journal
The screen-printed art balances Muppety chaos and sturdy order in the little monsters’ nursery lives, and the matte pages, clever limits on black linework (monsters are only softly lined in brown or self-colors), and goofy overbites keep the monsters looking approachable and friendly. Listeners will clamor to get their own stories put into books, making this an easy bridge to reading-friendly activities.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Natalie’s path to literacy is both fun and valid for other emergent readers.
See all Editorial Reviews
Lovable monster siblings Natalie and Alphonse are back with big plans in a second surprisingly touching tale in which Natalie is ready to learn how to read.Natalie and Alphonse REALLY like books. Picture books with Dad, scary stories with Mom, and especially stories they keep in mind that or make up themselves. So when it’s time for Natalie to learn to read, she thinks it’ll be exciting — she can have all of the stories on the planet now, and even read them to Alphonse. But when Natalie gets her first reading book, the letters look like squiggles and it isn’t even a good story; it’s just about a cat that can sit. “I do not like books anymore!” Natalie declares. But she still wants to make up stories. With Alphonse’s help, can she find a way to turn a love of telling stories into a love of reading stories? With her one-of-a-kind voice and wonderfully droll artwork, Daisy Hirst captures the familiar frustration of struggling to learn something new — and the particular pride that comes when you after all succeed.