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Review of:

The Monster Health Book: A Guide to Eating Healthy, Being Active & Feeling Great for Monsters & Kids!

Image courtesy of:
Written & illustrated by Edward Miller; Published by Holiday House, Inc.
Producer:Written & illustrated by Edward Miller; Published by Holiday House, Inc.
Date Produced:Spring 2006
  • Hardcover and paperback editions of book
  • Elementary School (6-8 yrs)
  • Middle School (9-12 yrs)
  • General Nutrition
  • Weight Management
  • Physical Activity
  • Meal Planning
  • Healthy Eating Tips
  • Grains/Whole Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Dairy
  • Protein
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Food pyramid, importance of sleep, saying no to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes.
Description:Filled with sensible advice, this book will arm youngsters with the knowledge they need to work toward healthy lifestyles.
Cost:Hardcover: $17.95; Paperback: $6.95
Ordering Info:Available directly through Holiday House, Inc., or through wholesalers such as Ingram and Baker & Taylor.


A. Use of MyPlate/MyPlate or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Material based substantially on MyPlate or 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
B. Scope
Scope of information is a mix of appropriate and less than appropriate concepts.

It is difficult to clearly identify the target audience unless one looks at the details, such as page 18 the recommendations are listed for ages 4-8 and 9-13. The Monster in the book suggests this book is geared towards quite young children; older children within this age range are unlikely to be inspired by monster. On the other hand, some of the issues are more appropriate for older youth (e.g., eating disorders, specific fats; drugs and alcohol). The book seems to aim to reach all elementary school ages. That is very difficult goal to achieve.

Also, it’s unclear to me that there is any research to support the value of teaching very young children to count calories.

Also, why does the USDA need to be mentioned so frequently? This suggests the USDA is the ONLY valuable source of nutrition info. If this book is intended to teach the USDA Food Guide Pyramid and Dietary Guidelines, then say so. It is off putting to seemingly toot the government’s horn without acknowledging that the book is really about putting these specific guidelines into practice.

C. Purpose
Purpose stated in title or introduction is vague.

Although the purpose suggested by the title is that this will be a book about being healthy, the book is primarily about diet, with only a small amount on other aspects of health such as self-esteem, physical activity, etc. There is no introduction, although the first text emphasizes diet.
D. Organization
Material well-organized and major points presented clearly.

The material is well organized; each page or section is well focused.
E. Accuracy
Information is accurate and recommendations current with content of MyPlate and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

I could not check the accuracy of the many fun facts, but the technical aspects were accurate.
F. Learner Background
Material does not assume that reader has background information.
G. Learning Objectives
Learning objectives not identifiable and/or not met.

Learning objectives are not clear. On page 5 in the first page of text, it is suggested that the monster needs to know “what foods are healthy to eat and how much is enough.” The book does cover these issues completely in a very factual sense (recommended servings), but there is no information about internal, intrinsic, or other types of signals kids should be aware of and use for the purpose of making food choices.
H. Learning Activities, Projects, or Interactive Learning Tools
Not applicable.
I. Objectivity/Sponsor Bias
Subject matter presented objectively and fairly. No brand name promotion or obvious sponsor bias.
J. Inclusion of learning objectives, learner activities, instructional aids, lesson plans, evaluation component, identification of required instructional materials, web site with additional materials.
Material includes fewer than three of the above.

Only websites listed at end.
K. Recipes (if included)
No recipes are included.
L. Recipes (if included)
No recipes are included.
M. Instructional Resources

No instructional resources or materials or guides are provided. This appears to be a stand-alone book that gets passed out and read as a class or sent home with the child. As such, it appears to be an ineffective teaching tool for the supposed target audiences, except if it is for use by teachers with a biological or family and consumer science background.
N. Credits, References and Resources (Including dates, publisher, etc.)
Current and complete credits, references, and resources listed.
O. Summary
No summary or review is included.

A. Role Models
Does not include negative stereotypes but fails to consider role models in nontraditional roles.

Only 2 Caucasian children and a monster are portrayed. There are no examples of dietary diversity across ethnicities.
B. Multi-cultural Representation
Not applicable.
C. Different lifestyles and food patterns
Not applicable.

Print Materials
A. Writing Style
Main ideas are clear, but sequence of information may not flow smoothly in all sections.

The section on overweight is not clear. First, on page 28 the types of diabetes are referred to interchangeably and that is confusing. “Kids with diabetes take a medicine called insulin,” but the next sentence says, “Someone who is overweight an inactive is more likely to get diabetes.” Although both statements in isolation are true, their juxtaposition implies that kids with type 2 diabetes will be on insulin (no always true) and kids who are overweight could get the kind of diabetes that requires insulin (false if the author is referring to type 1).

Why is the topic “food allergies” within the section of overweight?

B. Writing Approach
Material is easy to read but does not personally involve the reader. Limited use of negative wording (e.g., “Don't eat”). Active voice is used most of the time.

The focus is on memorizing the Food Guide Pyramid and Dietary Guidelines. Asking kids what they like, what they already consume, what they know and do that is correct, ways to creatively and is completely absent. The book is like a user manual.
C. Vocabulary
Excessive use of unfamiliar words or undefined technical terms.

If the target audience will include young children (e.g., 4-8), then the vocabulary is too technical. The different types of fat, food label reading, calorie counting, gram and ounce conversions, all the specific minerals and vitamins, etc, are not appropriate for young children. Young children should be encouraged to think about the sensory, physiologic, emotional, and social please rues of food, not the chemicals they contain.
D. Supportive Illustrations
All of the illustrations contribute to the material and are on the same page as their textual references. Tables and graphs are as simple and easy to read as possible. All information needed in graphs and tables is provided in a form requiring no further explanation.
E. Layout and Design
Color, design, and layout of material are attractive, and stimulate interest, without being too busy. There is good balance between print and blank space.
F. Visual Quality
Paper weight used is heavy enough so that print from one side cannot be seen on the other side. Text is written in a font size that is easy to read, and the main body is not written in capital letters.
G. Headings/Cueing Devices
Clear headings are provided for each topic area. Cueing devices (shading, boxes, arrows, etc.) are used to direct attention to key points.
H. Approximate Reading Level
Reading level is at or below 5th grade level for low-literacy materials. Assessment method provided.

Assessment method not provided.

Web Sites
A. Currentness of Information
Web site information is current; there are no broken hyperlinks.

This is for links within the book. The book does not have a companion website.
B. Readability
Text size is adequate for viewing. Good contrast between text and background.

This is for links within the book. The book does not have a companion website.
C. Navigation

Overall Comments on Resource Reviewed

A. Positive Points of the Reviewed Resource:
It is colorful, visually appealing.
B. Points that Could Be Improved:
Some of the details are esoteric of a limited value. Why would ham not be a good lunch meat choice? Under eating disorders there is a yellow circle in which the statement reads “Eating is a bog part of life – make it a positive, fun, and healthy experience!” This is inappropriate. It is not the 4 year old’s responsibility to make their eating experiences fun. It is the responsibility of the adults in their lives. A pre-teen with body image issues is likely going to feel chastised when s/he reads that statement. There are other points, but the list would be too long.
C. General Comments
D. Overall Summary

Reviewer Rating
Any opinions expressed about any resource in this web site (either expressly or implied) are solely and completely the responsibility of the reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Recommended with Reservations

Read other Review for this resource.