by John Foster
illustrated by Korky Paul
ISBN (PB) 0192761471
ISBN (HB) 0192761404
Oxford University Press

shopping basket Hardback


Hairy monsters, scary monsters, junk monsters, monsters of fire, monsters of snow. Monsters in your bedroom, behind the door, under the bed.

The Glamdrak, the Sliver-Slurk, the Yeti, the Grumposaurus, the Wild Werewolf, the Underwater Wibbles, and Frankenstein's Monster.

Here's a collection of poems about every kind of monster you can think of - including the last monster of all.

A wild array of monsters are presented in this exciting anthology by John Foster, from the strange creatures that inhabit the shadows just out of eyesight and the teacher with twenty arms, terrible claws and crunching great teeth to the last monster who waits for his doom alone in the chill fog. The eye is instantly drawn into the detailed, strange but thoroughly enjoyable illustrations by Korky Paul.

The book is presented in a large picture book format which makes it accessible to KS 1 and 2. On the whole, the poems tend towards the humorous with a heavy emphasis on rhythm and rhyme, although Rowena Sommerville's 'The Monster's Heart', written from the viewpoint of the Romantic monster, in pain and suffering under his Master's creation, is a touching image of the other side of the story.

Here are more than twenty poems about monsters, written by fifteen popular poets including Jack Prelutsky, Brian Moses, Judith Nicholls, Michaela Morgan and Clive Webster. There's The Monster Behind the Loo, The Sliver-Turk, The Snow Monster and The Fire Monster, who lurks inside a volcano. Monsters hide in the graveyards and in Watch Your Teacher Carefully there's a frightful monster in the head's office and no less than seven more in the staffroom! In The Night of the Junk Monsters, the caretaker returns from the pub to discover that the monsters made by 4C are whooping it up in the hall. The poems are scary and have an immediacy which will make them a hit with the children, possibly because they all rhyme and are easy on the ear. The presentation is excellent: each poem is illustrated by Korky Paul on good quality paper. Very good value and a book which will be an inspiration for art, craft and drama work as well as a starting point for more poetry writing.

This is one of the best John Foster collections that I have come across. The arrangement of the poems works very well, juxtaposing different styles on similar subjects. A serious poem on a monster's loneliness is set beside a four-liner hoping that Frankenstein will 'Rust in peace'.

Korky Paul's illustrations not only provide the visual image of the subject matter, but also include creatures who cleverly interrupt the page frames, punctuating the poems with little character headings.

Do try to read the hardback copy, as the colourful endpapers by a five-year-old are not in the paperback version.

John Foster and Korky Paul combine their talents to bring us MONSTER POEMS in brilliant and blazingly-bright full colour. The twenty three poems are contributed by such alive-and-kicking poets as Judith Nicholls, Brian Moses, David Harmer and Eric Finney and each is given the full treatment by artist Korky Paul who allows himself total visual freedom in this big, slim book. Each page is a feast of horrors, but often humorous, and nasties.

'A spider scuttles down the wall
A daddy-long-legs pays a call
A moth flies out of the toilet roll...'

sets the scene for Julie Holder's poem, 'The Monster behind the Loo'. The book is certain to be a massive hit with readers and browsers.

The most entertaining of the anthologies is John Foster's MONSTER POEMS, illustrated by Korky Paul, who gives horrible form to mutant teachers, the Grumposaurus, the Glamdrak, and the evil Sliver-slurk which lives at the bottom of the river with the coke-cans and bicycle-wheels.