Tuesday, August 20, 2013


by Kean Soo
160 pages
Late Elementary

Portia is smart but lonely.  With only his mother at home, and that only sometimes, no friends at school, and bullies on every side, she doesn't really enjoy life.  Even her teachers pick on her, even though she's the smartest in the class.

Then one night, when she can't sleep, she wanders downstairs and outside.  Strange noises in the woods lead her to a big purple monster, sitting the woods.  While initially scared of him, Portia quickly befriends him- she takes him home, feeds him and even teaches him how to swish through the leaves.

While at school, she sees the bullies picking on a boy, Jason.  For the first time, she stands up to the bullies for him.  Together, they get in trouble, and while waiting for the principle, the monster shows up through the window.  Instead of being scared, Jason is excited to see something so cool.  He even takes the monster home with him, feeds him cup o'noodles, and shows him TV.  Together, Jason and Portia name the monster: Jellaby.

Curious about Jellaby, Jason and Portia learn more about him and about each other.  But where did Jellaby come from?  And can Portia really trust Jason?

This was a cute, fun little book.  The color of the artwork is fairly mono-chromatic, but has little hints and bursts here and there of other colors, making it interesting.  Again, it's another good balance between text story-telling and artwork story-telling.  There's enough text, but there's also a lot told through the art.  Great balance.

Great book for talking about loneliness, friendship, and getting over being shy.  While there are fun moments, there are also some very serious themes.  I love that Portia and Jason don't get along terrifically at first.  Jellaby gets them together, but they have to work out their differences themselves.

Great book!  Very fun, but has great messages under the fun.  Enjoy!

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