Claire Freedman and Sue Hendra (Bloomsbury) 2014, 32pp, RRP $15.99

Max is having a birthday party – a Monster birthday party – and is inviting all his friends to play. This is an absolute dream party for all types of children – human and non-human; filled with sticky, ooey-gooey, smelly, creepy-crawly, icky, scary fun! The sheer delight will ooze on little monster faces when they open a worm-filled pass-the-parcel, bounce on a gunky jumping castle, slop around in a pool of smelly fruit-bat drool or winning a stinky-breath contest. And the menu is just as gross; termite tarts, earwig rolls, eyeball birthday cake topped with maggot cream and earwax candles to blow out, all followed by a splodgy monster food fight and a fiery-hot bowl of red dragon jelly. Yuk! Dragon Jelly - Claire Freedman and Sue Hendra - Bloomsbury - The Clothesline

Dragon Jelly is aimed at 2-5 year olds. Claire Freedman’s (Aliens Love Underpants/Spider Sandwiches) poetic prose flows easily and is simple to read with plenty of room for parents to put on funny monster voices of their own as they read it to their own little monsters. I really like Sue Hendra’s (Barry the fish with Fingers/Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell) illustrations as well; cute little creatures drawn in pastel colours on a black background, shiny pages filled with gooey sticky things, crawling bugs and all the best silly things one would expect to see at a monster’s birthday party.

The goody bags at the end have such cool things inside… I want one too! This is such a delightfully colourful book that any gooey snot-loving, smelly muck-adoring child is going to want to look at the colour pictures and read the words over and over again!

Catherine Blanch

Dragon Jelly is available through Allen & Unwin Books. Click here to purchase your copy.


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