Monsters Making Friends: The Other Side of Hugless Hill

children's picture books
Image from The Other Side of Hugless Hill via Mark Mariano

Good picture books should be fun for kids to read and have illustrations that they remember. Great children’s picture books should have those plus that extra touch of humor and humanity that makes reading them over and over worthwhile.

The-Other-Side-of-Hugless-Hill-cover
Cover via Mark Mariano

I’d call The Other Side of Hugless Hill by Mark Mariano a great children’s picture book.

It’s the parallel story of two monsters living on different sides of a hill who have trouble making friends with the monsters in their neighborhood. Each one tries something different with her group of monsters and each one finds a problem with that activity.

The artwork is adorable, with a little touch of Maurice Sendak’s wild things, but what really hooked me is the humor. As each little monster tries something else they hope the others will like, it becomes increasingly more absurd, like when one loves kittens and the other monsters? Well, they love kittens in an entirely different and darkly humorous way.

There’s also a life lesson, of course, in that there’s a friend out there who might share your interests if you look outside your comfort zone. But I can well imagine the draw of this book will be children laughing over the increasingly silly reactions of the monsters who just don’t get it.

Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.