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Frogs, Snails, and Puppy-Dog Tails

posted by: November 21, 2012 - 7:45am

Lio: There's a Monster in My SocksHere are a few tips for surviving life with Mark Tatulli’s cartoon character Lio, who returns to library shelves in Lio: There’s a Monster In My Socks:


  1. If there's a KEEP OUT sign on his door, don't try to vacuum in there.
  2. You maybe should just concede the Science Fair to him.
  3. And for goodness sake, don't give Lio a turn at Show and Tell.


Lio's decidedly unorthodox (and frequently disproportionate) responses to familiar school-age situations and pursuits are depicted in a scratchy black and white style with a distinct Gahan Wilson flavor. When flying kites with the other kids, Lio brings a dragon. When it's time to play football, Lio brews a Mr. Hyde potion that turns him into the ultimate linebacker. Some strips take a little effort to decode, which makes their punchline that much funnier.


Despite hearty helpings of grotesque slapstick violence, Lio is a goodhearted character with an active sense of justice, frequently victimizing bullies, sticking up for other kids, and championing the voiceless -such as prey animals, aliens, and monsters. Like Big Nate, Lio lives along with his patient, long-suffering schlub of a dad. Lio steals his garbage can to make a robot, the steaks from the fridge to feed the monsters under the floor, and routinely uses him as a test subject. Overjoyed at breakfast time to find a giant egg in the kitchen, he ends up with an alien stuck to his face. Lio's near-wordless, anarchic humor will appeal to teens and adults, not to mention a wide variety of kids - smart kids, kids who think they are weird, pranksters, and kids who sometimes get in trouble.


Revised: November 21, 2012