Monster Mash: Aaron Zenz Goes On Tour
Blog tours. Generally speaking I don’t really do them. Nothing against them personally, they just don’t always speak to the tenor and distinctive tone of individual blogs. It takes a particularly keen one to get me out of my hidey-hole so that I’ll participate. It takes, in short, Aaron Zenz.
But first . . . BACKSTORY!!!!
It was at least 10 years ago. I was a young struggling blogger (“struggling” in this case meaning doing just fine with a nice steady job). A fellow by the name of Aaron Zenz contacted me not long after I’d started and asked if I’d take a gander at his book, The Hiccupotamus. It was coming out with a very small publisher, but there was something to it. It was nice looking. Nicer than the average fare, so I took a gamble and said I’d give it a gander. Not only was it nice, but it held together beautifully. It also seems to be one of the longest lived books I’ve ever encountered, traveling as it has from Dogs in Hats Children’s Publishing to Marshall Cavendish to Two Lions. If you look on Amazon you’ll see my May 16, 2006 review of the book there.
And I remembered that Zenz guy. How could I not? First off, his name was “Zenz”. That’s just cool. Second, he had this crazy cool blog he did with his kids called Bookie Woogie (not to be confused with the also amazing but different kid art site Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty). For years I’d recommend it as what may be the most successful kids book review site written in large part by kids. He’d also come up with these crazy amazing blog posts . And in the interest of complete and utter honesty, they even reviewed Giant Dance Party and made fan art. Like so:
But wait. That’s not all. Because on top of his art, his blog with his kids, and his kids’ kinda of freakishly good art (seriously, they should Pinterest this stuff) they also are responsible for a slew of some of the best 90-Second Newbery videos you’ve ever seen in your life. I think if you keep watching this, the first four are by the Zenzes (Zenzi?).
None of this even touches on all the other stuff Aaron’s done over the years. Nor, you will note, have I even gotten to his books. As you can see, I save the best for last.
Starting with Hiccupotamus, I just kept on enjoying Aaron’s books for years. From his art for Five Little Puppies Jumping on the Bed to Chuckling Ducklings to Hug a Bull, the man makes good literature for the small fry. And now, the best one of all.
Now as I mentioned before, I don’t tend to do blog tours, and part of the reason why is because more than half the time I’m completely impartial (or worse) to the book that author is promoting. Monsters Go Night-Night is different. In one book you get the following:
- A good bedtime book.
- A story that is great for a range of ages (my 2-year-old and my 5-year-old get different things out of the book but both think it’s hilarious)
- Writing that is actually funny for adults too (it may have one of the greatest potty gags I’ve seen in a long time)
- Art that pops
- The ability to be read to a large group (hard for any book to do, let alone well)
The whole premise is based on setting up expectations and then knocking them to the floor in a way that’s completely appropriate for very young ages. Example:
Perfect for pajama storytimes everywhere.
But where did Aaron get the idea for this book? Well, if you’re still up for some video viewing today, this completely adorable video (could someone PLEASE publish a book of Aaron’s literary monsters since I want to see his Gurgi?) explains all:
So here’s where it gets crazy good. Did you see how Aaron turned his son’s art into monsters? Well, he’s been doing the same for other people as well. Aaron asked if my daughter (who is the five-year-old I mentioned earlier) would like to make a monster. He, in turn, would turn it into a piece of art. And the results? Behold:
Side by side . . .
Absolutely love that.
Long story short, this book good. Get book. Read book.
Still don’t believe me? Then check out everyone else on this blog tour. Lotta heavy hitters there. Maybe if you don’t believe me you’ll believe them:
Mon Aug 15 : Watch. Connect. Read.
Tues Aug 16 : 100 Scope Notes
Wed Aug 17 : Nerdy Book Club
Thu Aug 18 : Sharpread
Fri Aug 19 : All the Wonders
Sat Aug 20 : Playing by the Book
Sun Aug 21 : Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)
Mon Aug 22 : A Fuse #8 Production
And if you’d like to see the children’s art his did for these other bloggers’ kids collected for you in one place, just go to the Blog Tour Hub right here.
Thanks to Aaron for looping me into this tour.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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