Monster and Chips is a compulsively readable, delightfully illustrated series of novels for young readers that are full of good-natured gross-out humor and suspenseful scenarios. Joe stumbles into Fuzzby Bixington's Monster Diner one day while running away from the school bully and is adopted as a general dogsbody and sous-chef. In volume one, Monster and Chips, Joe discovers all manner of monstrous culinary secrets that he and his friends -- Barry, a wisecracking, tentacled, four-eyed "cat"; and Twig, a young, sweet tree-monster -- use to help Fuzzby compete on Monsterchef, where he faces a villainous, cheating horror of a monster. In volume two, Night of the Living Bread, a series of short episodes culminate with Fuzzy, Joe and friends cooking the Pizza of Ultimate Darkness to feed the dread Night-Mayor at his secretive annual feast.
The illustrations in the books are a delight. The monsters are charming and distinctive and endlessly varied. A tribe of tiny pebble-like monsters called the Guzzelins get their own one-or-two panel strips at the bottom of many of the pages, providing color commentary on the action. Best of all are the daily special menus from Fuzzby's Diner, which feature amazingly gross dishes that are enormous fun to read aloud.
I read these to my daughter at bedtimes twice over, and she loved them. At five, she's not quite ready to read them to herself, but the words in the cartoons and daily specials boards welcomed her in and she took great pleasure in reading them. I think in a year or two she'd be delighted to read them over to herself.
These books are only published in the UK (you can buy them in the US as imports), which is a pity. There's some UK-specific stuff (chips instead of fries, for example) but nothing too esoteric -- and certainly nothing that an audience prepared to parse out the details of Monsterland should be stopped by.
My UK publisher, Head of Zeus, has published the official tour schedule for the British tour for Walkaway, with stops in Oxford (with Tim Harford), London (with Laurie Penny), Liverpool (with Chris Pak), Birmingham, and the Hay Literary Festival (with Dr Adam Rutherford). Hope to see you there!
My publicist just found an extra box of the cool promotional Walkaway multitools, and she’s generously offered to give them to the next 100 people to reserve tickets to the May 7th Walkaway event at Chicago’s Royal George Theater, where I’m presenting with CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY creator Max Temkin (current ticket-holders, don’t worry, you get […]
Carol from Cheapass Games writes, “In our continuing quest to bring back the very best classic Cheapass Games, we’re creating a new boxed set of Button Men, our strategy dice combat game. This time around, the characters will appear on cards, rather than pin-back buttons, but since they’re all 1950s era gangsters, the ‘button men’ […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]