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Even Monsters … by A.J. Smith Virtual Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to the EVEN MONSTERS Virtual Tour & Giveaway courtesy of Sourcebooks Jabberwocky!

Even Monsters … written and illustrated by A.J. Smith, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2014.

Be sure to scroll down to devour every last morsel of our exciting EVEN MONSTERS by A.J. Smith art contest, giveaway, interview & EVEN more!!

MONSTER ART CONTEST: Even the bravest little monsters can be scared of what’s lurking in a closet or under the bed. Author and illustrator A.J. Smith’s family-friendly picture book, Even Monsters (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99, Ages 4-8 ) written and illustrated by A.J. Smith, is perfect for helping children understand that sometimes the things we are afraid of are not scary at all. In fact, they can be quite funny – see Fur of The Loom undies above!! To help kids overcome their fear of the dark and see how silly monsters can be, A.J. invites them to participate in the Monster Art Contest. Children ages 2-9 can send in their best monsters drawings for the chance to have their art animated into their own music video! The best 100 drawings will appear in a special Even Monsters art gallery, and the top 20 drawings will be animated into their own music video. WOW!



Hi AJ! EVEN MONSTERS is ADORABLE and something both my kids would have loved when they were younger.  There’s something to discover on every page meaning kids will want to go back again and again to see if they can find something new. Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 5.43.03 PMGRWR: With that last sentence in mind, did you deliberately include those tiny cute orangey-red, big-eyed creatures for kids to seek out on every page (and perhaps count)?

A.J. SMITH: Certainly I want the story to be fun and engaging in its own right, but yes, the little cooties were added as a way to extend the life of the story by inviting kids to come back for multiple reads and explore the book for cooties. Taking it even a step further, kids can print and play this cootie-counter game:

GRWR: I noticed a lot of broken items scattered throughout the book and thought you got into the young monsters’ heads quite well. Were you a monster when you were growing up?

A.J. SMITH: Kids (and monsters) can sometimes be destructive even when intentions are at their best. That said, I was an exceptionally gentle and thoughtful child who never did anything wrong. It’s possible my parents may have their own perspective on the matter, however.

GRWR: What prompted you to take this picture book one step further by introducing the digital element where kids (with help from their parents) can scan the QR codes throughout the book for assorted fun activities?

A.J. SMITH: I like the idea that a children’s book is a toy. Yes, it’s hopefully an eventual gateway to bigger literary endeavors. But in the meantime, a picture book should encourage interactivity and play. QR codes were just one more way for me to help facilitate that, which then brings you to more content online that revolves around Even Monsters. Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 5.52.51 PM GRWRAside from the fact that you’re obviously very talented, what else would you say influenced you to first enter the world of animation and designing?

A.J. SMITH: Thanks for the kind words. I’ve always liked to draw from a young age … Always enjoyed cartoons and books. I could talk all day about specific influences from pop culture to everyday events in childhood. But mostly I just always wanted to create stories and make people laugh. Animation, design, illustration, and writing became the best ways (for me) to make that happen.

GRWR: How did you find the transition from cartoons to picture books?

Even Monsters … author and illustrator A.J. Smith, © 2014 Sourcebooks

A. J. SMITH: It was (is) actually a difficult one for me. The animation world requires you to be able to mimic other artists’ styles with great accuracy. You’re always a bit of a chameleon. In illustration, you’re really expected to have one signature style that encompasses you. I’m honing in on that one, definable style. I don’t want to be an illustration cover band. I want to be ME.

GRWR: a)What is your next project after EVEN MONSTERS … ?  b)Will Glubb and Skeebu be returning as characters in a sequel?

A.J. SMITH: a) I’m always wearing a lot of different creative hats and juggling gigs. Right now I’m working on a multitude of design, animation, and writing projects. I’ve just started on the follow-up to EVEN MONSTERS … , EVEN DINOSAURS. Here are some of the very first sketches:

Interior sketch for upcoming picture book Even Dinosaurs … by A.J. Smith, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, © 2014 A.J.Smith

 b. I can’t speculate but right now, there are no concrete plans to bring back Glubb & Skeebu. That could always change…

GRWR: What types of things can parents do to help heighten their children’s creativity?

A.J. SMITH: Let them play! Mr. Rogers said it best, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. Aside from that, I’d encourage parents to join in on play, drawing, reading, etc and get their hands dirty too! … Oh and Monster Art Contests don’t hurt either: 😉

GRWR: Do goodnight kisses usually help chase away any demons lurking under the bed or outside the window for your two children?

A.J. SMITH: This is a loaded, loaded question. I’ll go with sometimes. Or I can lie to you. Yes, I’ll go with a lie: YES, ONE GOODNIGHT KISS FROM MOMMY OR DADDY AND THEY IMMEDIATELY (AND QUIETLY) DRIFT OFF TO A WORLD OF BLISSFUL DREAMS, EVERY TIME, ALWAYS.

Interior image from Even Monsters … by A.J. Smith, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2014.

GRWR: Thanks so very much, A.J., for sharing your insights. Wishing you every success with this fun new picture book!

A.J. SMITH: Thanks for having me!

– Q & A by Ronna Mandel


GIVEAWAY: What monster lived under your bed?
As a little girl, I was so frightened of Frankenstein’s monster that I had a lock put on my closet door!.

To enter for a chance to win a free copy of A.J. Smith’s Even Monsters, please do the following:

1. Comment: Describe what kind of monster lived under your bed or in your closet when you were young.

2. Leave comment in this blog post’s comment section below. For extra chance,  like us and comment on either our Facebook page or Twitter, or both for extra entries.

3. Giveaway ends on Wednesday April 30, 2014 at midnight, PST. One winner will be chosen at and notified Thursday May 1, 2014. Good luck!

NOTE: If you didn’t have a monster, tell us your child’s monster …!

ACTIVITIES & EVEN MORE! Find some fun kid’s activities for your little monster fan by clicking here.

Interview with Glubb  

Teacher Guide

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This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Monsters lived in my closet, not under the bed. =) I feared Dracula but he’s now one of my all-time-favorite Monsters!

    1. I have smaller closets now so I’m not AS scared, but … if it was the Count from Sesame Street I’d be a lot less scared. He could help me count sheep. But it was always my hand hanging off the side of the bed that made me uncomfortable. I had a captain’s bed so monsters couldn’t fit in those drawers!!

  2. I never had any monsters under my bed. I remember being afraid of Freddy Kruger and Bloody Mary!!!

    1. You’re so welcome A.J. Smith. I’ve got a huge grin on my face as I type this thinking about Swamp Munch cereal for breakfast, and the creative food fight at dinner.

  3. Truth is, don’t remember any specific monsters, just always felt as a child there was SOMETHING under my bed… something I didn’t want to meet up with. To make this problem go away, for the last 40 years or so, my bed mattresses are on the floor, so no place for monsters to be under! Problem solved!

  4. I was always deathly afraid of the closet monster. He didn’t even have an ideation…he just lurked in the closet and was going to get me if we left the closet door open! My sister made me sleep looking in her direction so in case the closet monster got out, I would be watching her to protect her…(yes, I was the big sister!) But I was just as afraid of him as she was, so we watched out for each other! I still sleep with the closet doors closed! LOL!

  5. I didn’t believe in monsters, but I used to think there was a ghost in my closet.

  6. I was afraid of all the stuff like monsters under the bed and in the closet but I remember being most afraid of Big Foot, of all things! I thought he was big enough to step on my whole room and smash me. I laid awake listening for him!

  7. My monsters always lurked in the corners of my room, hiding in the dark places. Sometimes shadows cast from the moonlight thru the windows onto the wall and I was certain the monsters were coming to get me!

  8. I was afraid of lizards under my bed — probably because from time to time my brother made sure there were some! EEEEKKKK!

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