3 out of 4 stars
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Old Carnie is a crow who wants to tell us about an interesting hotel. This isn't any normal hotel. Oh no! It's a hotel full of monsters. Even the bellboy is a ghoul. Read The Monster Hotel by Mark and Susan Kibbe to learn more about this fun and spooky place.
Illustrated by Lianna Witherspoon, the drawings are colorful and fun. Hand-drawn, they would interest any child. The illustrations are simplistic, but this would make them appeal more to children, as they could easily be imitated. With one drawing per page, the ratio of drawings to words is perfect for early learners. My favorite illustration was of the hotel itself. It's eerie, and I could easily picture this broken-down building existing in real life.
As far as the font, it was a simple, black, typewritten style. With such colorful illustrations in the background, it's not overly problematic. I do believe it's a small missed opportunity, though. Some of the backgrounds are more beige in color, so a spooky, colorful font would add to the mystery of the story.
The vocabulary might be a bit advanced for the recommended age range. Words like "pate" and "hullabaloo" would need to be explained by an adult. Each line rhymes, which makes the book wonderful for reading aloud. This was my favorite aspect of the story, as I enjoy reading aloud.
As for editing, there were errors within the book. Most of these were punctuation issues. For example, a comma is placed where a semicolon should be. There were also a couple of capitalization errors. In addition, though not counted as an error, the spacing was sometimes off. Several times, it looked like there was more than one space in between words, but I think it was simply a different font. I'm not sure children would notice these errors, but it's my opinion that kid's books should be perfectly proofread, which is why this is my least favorite aspect of the book.
Any parent, educator, or child that's looking for a fun, rhyming Halloween-themed story should consider this book. I rate The Monster Hotel 3 out of 4 stars due solely to the errors. Elementary age children would be the most appropriate audience for the story; however, as I stated above, adults might need to help with the more obscure words. This would make a great story for a teacher to read out loud to a classroom of children or a family to read together near Halloween. I'm looking forward to seeing what other children's books the authors produce.
The Monster Hotel
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