||MACK, David. The Shy Creatures. illus. by author. unpaged. CIP. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2007. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-36794-7. LC 2006036340.
K-Gr 2: Rhyming, almost entirely subjunctive text and lively Seuss-like cartoon illustrations combine to tell the story of a reticent girl with ambitions to be a doctor to the shy creatures that readers hear a lot about but never see. She tells her classmates ("Or she would have, if she wasn't so shy") that she'd minister to Bigfoot's stubbed toe, the Loch Ness Monster's sore neck, the Unicorn's broken horn, Pegasus's strained wing, the Cyclops's nearsightedness, and the ailments of six others of their ilk. But then it occurs to her that all these creatures might just need a friend to help them play games with one another. "HA HA HA!" laugh the creatures, the class, and the girl ("Well, she would have, if she wasn't so shy"). Throughout, the spreads are dominated by the creatures, who are deliciously scary and funny at the same time. Wide-eyed behind her pile of books, the tiny child looks appropriately shy but is transformed as she goes about her imagined work, only to go back into hiding where, of course, she was all along. Children will likely respond enthusiastically to the flight-of-fancy theme, appealing rhyme, and whimsical art in this promising picture-book debut by the well-known graphic novelist. A short explanatory list of the 11 creatures unobtrusively precedes the dedication page.—Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY