Straightforward, empathic prose and screen-printed vignettes of biomorphic family life (red Natalie is amphibious-looking; Alphonse resembles a chunky blue rabbit) by Hirst (The Girl With the Parrot on Her Head) reassure while giving an emotionally fraught subject its full, unsentimental due. Natalie and Alphonse would approve.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Bold, primary colors against white space create supportive scenes peopled by this lovable family of adorable, Muppet-like monsters eager to nurture some perseverance and full of patience with Natalie’s struggle and ultimate accomplishment. Natalie is on her way to reap the pleasures of learning to read, as seen in the endpapers, by authoring her own storybooks, a recognized strategy to foster beginning readers. Learning to read can be hard, and this book offers youngsters tackling the skill needed sympathy.
The siblings’ spirited approach to literacy could also spark inspiration in children to create their own stories and not surrender to prickles and bird feet. An appealing read-aloud for those not quite ready to read on their own.
—School Library Journal
The screen-printed art balances Muppety chaos and sturdy order in the little monsters’ nursery lives, and the matte pages, clever limits on black linework (monsters are only softly lined in brown or self-colors), and goofy overbites keep the monsters looking approachable and friendly. Listeners will clamor to get their own stories put into books, making this an easy bridge to reading-friendly activities.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Natalie’s path to literacy is both fun and valid for other emergent readers.