Cover image for Monsters
Hoban, Russell.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Inc., [1989]

Physical Description:
28 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
John's obsession with drawing monsters takes him to a doctor, where a startling discovery is made about the degree of reality of John's drawings.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 9481.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



John's obsession with drawing monsters takes him to a doctor, where a startling discovery is made about the degree of reality of John's drawings.

Author Notes

Russell Hoban was born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania on February 4, 1925. He attended art school in Philadelphia and during World War II, he served in the Army and earned a Bronze Star. He taught art in New York and Connecticut, and also worked as an advertising copywriter and a freelance illustrator before beginning his career as a writer.

He began publishing children's books in the late 1950s, including What Does It Do and How Does It Work?, Bedtime for Frances and the six other books featuring Frances, The Story of Hester Mouse Who Became a Writer, What Happened When Jack and Daisy Tried to Fool the Tooth Fairies, and The Mouse and His Child, which was adapted as an animated film in 1977.

In 1973, he published his first adult novel, The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz. His other books for adults include Turtle Diary, Pilgermann, and Ridley Walker. He received the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and the Australian Science Fiction Achievement Award for Ridley Walker. He died on December 13 at the age of 86. In 2015 he made the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist for his title Jim's Lion wth illlustrator Alexis Deacon.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6-9. John's penchant for drawing fierce, violent monsters, some "so monstrous they had to be invisible so they wouldn't scare themselves to death," really concerns his parents. When he begins a large, serious drawing, his parents consult Dr. Plunger, who supplies numerous sheets of paper and felt tips so John can finish his creation--and a monstrous creation it is! Hoban explores children's imaginative play with humor and wit while gently lampooning the parents' leap to psychoanalysis. The ink-and-color wash illustrations of John amid the adults are accompanied by monster drawings rendered with a creative abandon that reflects Blake's respect for the masters among child artists. ~--Linda ~Callaghan

Publisher's Weekly Review

John spends most of his time drawing monsters of all shapes, sizes and colors, and his parents are worried. When their son begins devoting himself to a master project--drawing parts of a ``serious'' monster on big sheets of brown wrapping paper--Mom and Dad pay a visit to John's teacher. He seems to think that there's no cause for concern, since ``boys are naturally a bit monstrous.'' Unappeased, the couple then consults a doctor, who wants to have a little chat with John. The doctor makes the mistake of providing the boy with more wrapping paper and markers so that he can finish his masterpiece. It soon becomes clear that John's passion for drawing has grown to monstrous proportions and that his parents' fears were justified. Hoban and Blake bring John's monsters to life in this subtly wicked story, which may give imaginative youngsters a specific--and horrific--goal. Ages 6-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

John likes to draw scary monsters. When he appears to be starting a drawing of a particularly large one (the tail alone fills an entire sheet of wrapping paper), his parents become concerned. Mr. Splodge, the art teacher, thinks John's drawings are first-rate. Dr. Plunger takes the matter lightly at first, allowing John to finish the drawing. From the waiting room, his mother and father hear a noise like ``two or three heavy metal rock bands all playing at once.'' John emerges quite content, and readers glimpse claws and eyeballs just behind the door. While adults may find this a rather gruesome ending for unsuspecting Dr. Plunger, youngsters will find the story quite satisfying and will undoubtedly relate to John's preoccupation with monsters. Children will return again and again to Blake's childlike drawings complete with monsters eating, zapping, and clobbering each other. The remainder of the humorous ink and watercolor illustrations effectively characterize the concerned parents and their seemingly innocent child. An offbeat, sophisticated story reminiscent of the Zemachs' The Judge (Farrar, 1969) or one of Roald Dahl's zany cautionary tales. --Pearl Herscovitch, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.