Saturday, April 15, 2023

1979's "Zed and the Monsters"

  • Title: Zed and the Monsters
  • Author: Margaret Cecile "Peggy" Parish (1927-1988), best known as the originating author of the much-loved Amelia Bedelia series
  • Artist: Paul Galdone (1907-1986)
  • Publication date: 1979
  • Publisher: Doubleday & Company ("a presentation of Weekly Reader Children's Book Club")
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 60
  • Of note: This is, oddly, one of the lesser-recognized works by both Parish and Galdone, as it's not listed on either of their Wikipedia pages, as of this writing. It's fondly remembered by some who were children in that era, though.
  • First four sentences: "A long time ago, there lived a boy named Zed. Zed was clever, really clever. But he was lazy, really lazy. Zed only worked when his pockets empty, plumb empty."
  • Last three sentences: "Zed walked faster. His rocking chair was waiting for him. And Zed was in a hurry to keep it company."
  • Random sentence from the middle: "The monster caught a gloppy handful of noodles."
  • Assessment: The book seems like modern retelling of the tales from Scandinavian folklore (some featuring Ashlad) in which clever boys use their wits to defeat gigantic, incredibly stupid trolls.
  • Goodreads rating: 4.67 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review: In 2016, Joseph wrote: "I checked this book out at the school library 6 straight times in 2nd grade until the teacher put a stop to it. Checked it out again in 3rd grade because new teacher."
  • Amazon rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon review: In 2014, Dinkus wrote: "This was a favorite of my children. They loved this book as children and now that they have little ones of their own, I was able to buy 2 copies and put them under the tree. Of all the gifts they received this Christmas, I think my daughters were most excited to receive this book. I used funny voices when I read to them as children — and they plan to do the same with their own." (Doing voices is definitely one of the best parts of reading to kids. I would use all sorts of different voices when reading Ruth Manning-Sanders stories to Ashar at bedtime. I would also, while we were on driving trips, make up stories featuring Star Wars characters, leprechauns and other amusingly-voiced characters. Sometimes the high jinks involved things like Darth Vader having to juggle babysitting a half-dozen cats.)

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