Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Monster of a Picture book For Halloween

Check out this perfect picture book for Halloween, The Monstore by Tara Lazar.
Here is a sample:  "The Monstore sells only the most useful monsters, just  right for doing tricky things around the house. The kind that love cab-leg casserole....And the kind that frighten pesky little sisters away."

Readers will enjoy the frustrations that Zack experiences when he buys monsters that fail to scare his little sister, Gracie, away and can't return them because the store offers no refunds.

 I like the way dialogue is put in the characters' mouths by the use of balloons, like in the comics.
When I asked Tara how she came up with the idea, this is what she said:

"THE MONSTORE began as just a title. I love playing with words, making puns, and smooshing words together to make new words--and that's what happened here. I loved the title immediately and thought--nah, this will never fly. Someone has probably already thought of this! But after an exhaustive search, I found ZERO children's books with that title and decided I had a winner. But it would be months before I even attempted to write the story. I didn't have a premise--just the title. And a title does not a story make!

After meeting an agent at a conference, I was forced to come up with a premise. Very quickly I thought, "A boy wants to return the monster he bought because it doesn't spook his little sister." The agent told me it was a winning idea and to go ahead and pursue it. I still hesitated. I was afraid of ruining a perfectly good idea! LOL

Weeks later, when I finally sat down and wrote it, it spilled out. I wanted to give this boy lots of problems and the first thing I thought of was to have the Monstore manager refuse to take his monster back. That's where the refrain "No returns, no exchanges" came from. From there, the story just worked itself out. Although I did revise the first draft several times, the whole of the story pretty much remained the same."

Thanks, Tara!