Gabby lives in a world where every kid has a pet monster. Gabby decides one day to take her pet monster, Dwight, to school and all sorts of trouble ensue in Monster and Me: The Complete Comics Collection by Robert Marsh and Tom Percival. Gaby’s parents have recently separated and her father no longer lives with them. Gaby has anxiety about school and navigating this new climate. She decides one day to bring Dwight with her. Dwight doesn’t make a smooth transition at the school. He roars when he responds to questions, tries to eat people, and has a hard time adjusting to the social norms. Dwight ends up being involved in school activities that are challenging for him, but he finds a way to adapt to these situations. Ultimately the lesson learned is that you can find a way to succeed no matter what your challenges may be.

The main character is biracial, her mother is black and her father is white. It’s revealed in the first chapter that her parents are separated. It’s the one thing that I applaud this series for, but I wish the authors had delved into it further. For example, what impact does the separation have on Gabby? The father is only shown briefly in two stories and has a warm relationship with his daughter. His absence in later stories makes me wonder how involved he is in her life. The mother and father have zero interaction in any of the stories. Dwight serves as a proxy for Gabby, however, I would have preferred if we experienced more things from Gabby’s point of view and knew how she felt about school.

The artwork is very colorful with a heavy emphasis on reds and purples. The colors match the whimsical nature of the story and complement its humorous tone. The human figures tend to have big heads and small bodies. The kids are clearly defined by a school uniform that consists of a white t-shirt with a sweater over it. The adults have more variation in the shapes of their bodies and heads. The male school staff all wear ties and suits, while the parents are casually dressed. Gabby’s father wears a t-shirt with a yellow jacket over it. Dwight reminded me of the Pokemon, Snorlax with his grey fur, pointy ears, and round tummy. Dwight is given an expressive face as he is the comic relief of the story.

Monster and Me: The Complete Comics Collection will charm the audience it is targeted at which is grade 3-6. As an adult, I didn’t find the humor worked for me, and I wanted more character development for Gabby as she is the main protagonist of the story. Other features that the graphic novel has are instructions on how to draw Dwight and Gabby. There are also monster jokes included in the last few pages.

Monster and Me: The Complete Comics Collection
By Robert Marsh
Art by Tom Percival
ISBN: 9781496587305
Capstone, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: Grades 3-6
Series ISBNS and Order

Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)

  • Tanya

    | She/Her

    Tanya work as a librarian at a maximum security prison in Northern California. She runs a weekly book club which changes themes and genres on a quarterly basis. Her favorite book club moment was watching her book club members perform a play in front of an audience and getting a warm ovation. Tanya is a long-time lover of Manga and animes. Her favorites include anything by Clamp, Fullmetal Alchemist, Wolf Children, Pandora Hearts and Dawn of the Arcana. In her spare time enjoys trying out new recipes from Pinterest.

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!