Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Short Stories for Little Monsters

Gay, Marie-Louise (Author/Illustrator)
Groundwood Books 2017. 42 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9781554988969 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

point of view

Award

Governor General’s Literary Award – Finalist – 2017

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This graphic novel-style picture book is colourful and full of imagination. Each page features a new comic. “Snail Nightmares” has a snail travelling across several panels and, unable to slow down, crashing into the final panel. In another vignette, one snail visits the shell of another. The illustration shows them sitting shell-less in comfortable chairs, with steaming cups of tea and a hanging chandelier. “You’ve done wonders with this place,” the visiting snail exclaims.

The illustrations are done in watercolour, ink, coloured pencil and collage. They are cartoony, with simple forms and facial expressions, but the vibrant colour palette gives a more abstract feel. The backgrounds are often made of splotches of colour or pale washes. One two-page spread features talking trees, with different facial expressions, their foliage drawn like hairstyles. “Do you like my new colour?” asks a tree with orange leaves. “It’s so daring!” exclaims one. “Orange hair!! What next?” exclaims another with a look of annoyance.

The final page shows two children peering down a rabbit hole. “Imagine all those rabbits sitting in the dark,” says one. “I’m glad I’m not a rabbit,” replies the other. Meanwhile, a cutaway reveals an underground scene full of colour where rabbits surf on waves, fly on carrots and hang out on giant psychedelic flowers. All in all, a humorous collection of highly creative comics for kids.

  •  

    The author wants readers to see life in a different way. Discuss what this means. Is it possible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand who they really are?

  •  

    Make your own What Do___See? from the perspective of another animal or insect.

  •  

    “Lies My Mother Told” looks at expressions in a new and humorous way: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” shows a boy eating an apple while at the doctor’s office. Find a common expression and illustrate the opposite form of it in the same style.

  •  

    As a group, discuss what makes the stories in this book humorous: the words? expressions? illustrations? characters?

  •  

    Can you relate to any of these stories? Consider “Who? Me?” (pages 10-11), for example: what are your strategies when a teacher asks a question to which you don’t have the answer? How are the stories from this book inspired by the real lives of children, or little monsters?

  •  With a partner, create a short comic strip inspired by funny aspects of your everyday life.
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Visual Arts