Friday, October 25, 2013

PPBF: Even Monsters Need Haircuts

TitleEven Monsters Need Haircuts
Author/Illustrator: Matthew McElligott
Publisher/DateWalker Childrens /2012
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Ages 4-8
Themes: monsters, barbershops, mythological creatures

Opening: "My dad is a barber. I like to watch him work. I'm a barber too. Tonight will be a full moon. I'll need to get to bed early."

Synopsis: (from School Library Journal)

"The young narrator learns a lot from watching his barber dad in action–how to give a good haircut or trim, treat his clientele with respect, and give them what they want–even if the "regulars" are monsters. Literally. Once a month, Frankenstein, Cyclops, Vlad, Medusa, and others fill the barbershop chairs after midnight strikes, and the boy (who never breaks the rules and NEVER leaves the house alone) stands atop a ladder or chair, and–clad in monster slippers, pj's, and "shamp-ewww"-filled pockets–competently gives each customer a new do. With a jewel-toned palette in ink, pencil, and digital art, the shadows of night brighten in the barbershop to bring out the personalities of a lighthearted collection of monster-inspired characters. The art invites both inspection of humorous details for individual readers and an opportunity for exploration of voice and mood in a read-aloud. Fears of the unknown are faced as a human arrives at the shop during the wee hours, yet the boy ("More nervous than I have ever been") never backs down and takes care of business. Narrated in the voice of a child, this offering is perfect for young readers facing a bit of personal anxiety." Mary Elam, Learning Media Services Plano ISD, TX

Why I Love This Book
This story is such a unique take on monsters. Amid the silliness, readers are exposed to a wide variety of creatures ranging from literary characters, such as Frankenstein's monster, to mythological bad-guys. (The boy wears a blind-fold to do Medusa's hair.) Perfect for Halloween, yet without a hint of the holiday, this colorfully illustrated book is sure to impress.

Invent a monster. Decide what kind of haircut it will have. Build your creature out of recycled materials.

Do some research at the library to learn more about Cyclops, Medusa, and other mythological villains.

Use the title as a writing prompt. Replace "haircuts" with another ordinary thing that humans need and write how it plays out for monsters. "Even Monsters Need _______." (breakfast, baths, hugs, ...)

Imagine doing your mom or dad's job with monsters as clients. Create a skit and perform it.

Monster Machine at the author's website

Craving more Perfect Picture Books? Author Susanna Leonard Hill compiles weekly book reviews from bloggers at Visit Fridays or click the Perfect Picture Books tab at her website for a subject listing.


  1. I Love your suggestions for further learning and for writing your own monster book This could be extrapolated for other specialties as well. Great pick! :)

  2. I laughed out loud at "shamp-ewww!" Clever take on a monster story.

  3. Oh, this is great! This is a winning title. It draws me in immediately! I don't know Matthew McElligott, but he seems inventive and talented. Thanks!!!!

  4. What a fun choice. I love your idea for kids to invent their own monster book. What a fun Halloween activity. Very creative resources too!

  5. This looks to be my kind of book. And the cover reminds me of a fav - Dr. DeSoto!

  6. Well, I want to know how he cuts Medusa's "hair"! What a fun book this looks to be! And thanks for all the fun ideas to go along.

  7. This took a turn I wasn't expecting - love it.

  8. Now that's an author who thinks outside the box. . .fun one!

  9. oh how fun! thanks for sharing... I love the idea of putting on a blindfold to cut Medusa's hair.

  10. Hilariously fun cover, sure to attract attention. Even funnier story. Using blinfold to cut one's hair.... huhoh!