Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Rafael Rosado
Illustrator: Jorge Aguirre
Publisher: First Second
Tomboy Claudette is the sort of hard core, no fluff, all grit, eight-year-old hero you’d expect to be crushing monsters on a daily basis. And that’s exactly what she plans on doing. Problem is, the warrior games have had their deadliness dialed down a bit. Claudette finds herself churning butter instead of putting minotaurs in a headlock. Claudette’s teammate and younger brother Gaston discovers that the team from the ocean kingdom is really monsters in disguise. Distressingly, no one believes him. While Claudette flounders outside of her element, her teammates scramble to outmaneuver their disguised foes. The ocean kingdom’s plot to free an evil wizard from being a lawn ornament is nearly realized when they win—but with their cover blown Claudette finally gets to kick some monster butt! With a touch of magical help from Gaston she saves the day.
Monsters Beware! is a hilarious, well-told adventure with an irresistible protagonist. The story reads smoothly, courtesy of Jorge Aguirre’s extensive experience as a story board artist and animator. The complete style, flavor of writing, and type of illustration closely follow the tradition of French comics, and greatly resemble The Adventures of Asterix. The way the characters interact is spontaneous but pleasantly familiar, and it does a great job of drawing the reader into the unfolding action. The exaggeration of movement and expressions is comical and worth going over a few times just for the sheer fun of it. This third book in the series builds well with the others. Claudette is more conflicted and has to widen her approach to succeed. This graphic novel also has a noteworthy range of characters, implying a depth of world that doesn’t interfere with the exuberant, unrestrained cartoon tone of the story. This is certainly worth a read.