Booklist: Even Monsters Need Haircuts

This charming offering posits an especially appealing fantasy: once a month, just before midnight, a young boy sneaks out of his house, goes down to his father’s barbershop, and spends the night cutting the hair of monsters. His version of the shop is a bit different: the photos are flipped to portraits of various creeps, and his equipment is a mite strange, too: “The rotting tonic, horn polish, and stink wax go on the counter. The shamp-ewww goes next to the sink.” Every monster presents a challenge: the wolfman requires heavy-duty shears, Medusa’s snakes require intricate braiding, and the skeleton—well, it’s tough to know what some customers want. McElligott’s ink, pencil, and digital illustrations are more subdued than most picture-book monster tributes, which gives this a pleasantly fuzzy, after-hours feel. From the bizarre creature creations to the gently colored backgrounds, there is a lot of care and heart put into this package, which makes it stand out in a crowd of overly zany Franks and Dracs. Preschool-Grade 2. –Daniel Kraus