Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
An adorable picture book about a tiny monster with a big heart trying to follow in his family’s footsteps.
All great Kaiju are born with a super power to strike fear in the heart of the city.
But Anzu is different.
Instead of mayhem, he likes May flowers.
Instead of striking fear, he prefers to be sincere.
Can Anzu find a way to make his family proud and stay true to his kind self?
From Disney animator and illustrator Bensom Shum comes an adorable and heartwarming picture book about making your own way and the unexpected power of gentleness—perfect for fans of Ferdinand the Bull.
About: Anzu the Great Kaiju is a children’s fiction written and illustrated by Benson Shum. It was published on 1/11/2022 by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, hardcover, 40 pages. The genres are children’s fiction, picture book, and dragons. This book is intended for readers ages 4-8. According to the publisher’s website, “Roaring Brook Press is a publisher of high-quality literature for young readers of all ages, from toddler to teen, and in all categories: picture books, fiction, and nonfiction.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Anzu the Great Kaiju for my toddler’s bedtime on 6/20/2022 and we finished it that same night. I recalled reading this book a few times before this date but I must have forgot to add it to Goodreads. I just loved the illustrations and I loved how none of the pages were left blank like what we normally see in other children’s books. Every page offered illustrations in this book! Not just the title page but also behind the front cover, before the back cover, even the copyright page! The surprise was when I noticed the cover of the book’s illustrations was different from the book jacket, both front and back! Now I have an itch to go check other picture books because I have never thought to open out book jackets before. Each page gave a cliffhanger until readers turn the page so that was great. It gave readers anticipation and a chance to guess and a chance to get surprise when we turn the page to discover that our guesses was probably wrong.
This book opened up to illustrations about how all kaijus were born with superpowers to strike fear. Then the story began introducing Anzu. He wanted to make his family proud as he tried his best to become one of the great kaijus. The unexpected superpower Anzu possessed was the power of flowers. Anzu couldn’t conjure destructions or havocs to his city. His parents offered him lessons to guide him. His mom and dad each gave Anzu lessons about what a great kaiju usually would do. Then Anzu performed each task, except instead of terrorizing the city, his superpower summoned garlands, joy, and laughter. His grandma even came to his aid. When Anzu eventually succeeded in calling upon destruction to his city, he was happy he succeeded but then he felt unhappy that the result wasn’t what he personally loved.
Anzu the Great Kaiju was a fun read. The illustrations of Anzu were cute. It’s a little dragon but my little ducks looks like it so I put them in the picture. It’s odd of kaijus to be wanting to bring misery and fear to the city. What is the word kaiju means though? I don’t think there’s a definition in the story. One lesson learned for readers was even if generations before Anzu only wanting to cause destruction and mayhem and they saw that as normal, Anzu didn’t let traditions forced him to do what was deemed right. He wanted to make his own decisions of what was right versus wrong. I liked how Anzu tried to be what his parents wanted before choosing what he wanted. He in turn was able to show his parents that a new way could be good too. I recommend everyone to read this book!
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author and Illustrator:
Benson Shum has illustrated a number of picture books, including Adam Lehrhaupt’s Sloth Went, Jennifer Sattler’s Go to Sheep, and his own Anzu the Great Kaiju. Benson is also an animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he has contributed to such films as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Frozen II, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Encanto. Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Benson now lives in sunny Southern California. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).
More Information about Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
***Many thanks to MacKidsBooks for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.