Monster Needs a Costume


Title: Monster Needs a Costume

Author: Paul Czajak

Illustrator: Wendy Grieb

Publisher: Scarletta Kids

Year: 2013

Word Count: 352

Story Element #1 CHARACTER  A character is a person or animal, or in this case monster, who the story is about. Characters possess individual traits that are distinctive and easily identifiable. Characters can be categorized by their overarching value. The younger the reader, the more simplistic the character is portrayed. In this story Monster can be described as simply funny by the youngest readers, but more sophisticated readers will find him funny, creative, indecisive, imaginative, and maybe even wild. 

In picture books, animals often play major roles as a literary devise not only to engage young children, but also to help them discover some deeper human characteristics without attributing these to people, perhaps even themselves. A child might laugh at Monster’s inability to decide what he wants to be for Halloween while all the while being unsure themselves. They might begin a discussion about what costumes are best suited for a monster, or themselves.  Can a monster be a ballerina, a cowboy, a ninja?

Which leads me to talk about the importance of relationships between characters. A flat two-dimensional character would not be worth reading about. But one who interacts with at least one other character has depth that is impossible to achieve alone. Monster is not alone in his dilemma, his friend the boy is supportive and nonjudgmental as Monster works out his problem. The boy provides the reader with the narration and the insight into Monster’s fantasies. He helps Monster find just the right props, plays out each choice until Monster is tired of it, and proudly walks the streets with his unconventional friend.

And, finally, a true sign of a great picture book character is a series of books starring the same character.

7 Responses to “Monster Needs a Costume”

  1. Linda E.H. February 18, 2015 at 6:29 PM #

    sounds like a book for my niece’s boys. I am sure they’d find it it hilarious.


  2. Christie Wright Wild February 15, 2015 at 5:24 PM #

    Hey, Juliana! I got your link to work for you. Yes, almost all PB series are “character” books. Thanks for participating in the PB 14:14 challenge. Hope you stick with it!


    • Juliana Lee February 15, 2015 at 6:39 PM #

      Thank you Christie! I already have 8 pages written and working on the next two. So I’m glad I can post them on your challenge. Even if it hadn’t worked, I would have continued because I really want to share these on my website as well. 🙂


  3. Joyce Tucker February 14, 2015 at 10:12 PM #

    I haven’t heard of these books, but this one sounds great. Monster and the boy sound like they interact well. Thanks for sharing.


    • Juliana Lee February 15, 2015 at 9:03 AM #

      I’m sure you’ll love them, Joyce! Are you a member of Debut PB on Facebook? We are interviewing the author on Monday. Check it out.


  4. SevenAcreSky February 14, 2015 at 8:19 PM #

    Love these Monster Needs books! Your point in the beginning of your post about the perceptions of young vs. older readers/listeners is important to remember, and I’m not sure I’m always conscious of that aspect when creating/developing a character. Thanks for great review Juliana!


    • Juliana Lee February 15, 2015 at 9:13 AM #

      Thank You. I think that unless the character is flat, every character has multiple traits. It’s good to keep multiple readers in mind when creating characters.


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