My Friend the Weather Monster
This picturebook sees a young boy named Tom befriending a monster whose mood has an adverse effect on the weather. Local villagers are fed up with all the rain the weather monster is causing, due to the fact that he is sad and lonely. So, they decide to lighten the monster’s mood by bringing him cakes and buns. However, all he really wants is a friend.
While it is an enjoyable read, this picture book felt a little flat. The reason for this is that the verbal and visual texts mirror each other exactly. There is nothing in the illustrations that is not mentioned directly in the verbal text. Consequently, there is very little room for the reader to become part of the story. Nevertheless, the verbal text will appeal to those young children who enjoy a ‘happily-ever-after’ ending (the picture book also comes with suggested ‘further discussion’ topics for teachers and parents). That said, the visual text offers many beautiful ‘chocolate-box’ illustrations, with double-page spreads depicting idyllic village life. Merz’s colour palette also echoes the mood of the weather monster, and there is a lovely distinction made between rainy days and sunny days.
Finally, the monster, named Ron, is unintimidating and unthreatening – apart from one illustration – so, the picturebook won’t leave any nightmares!
This review was published online in