Emma is quiet, and often lonely, because the birthmark on her face scares the other kids in town. She lives with her kindly grandfather, who owns a factory where he creates the most beautiful dolls in the world.
One day while exploring the factory, Emma discovers a forgotten workbench and some wooden crates. Inside the crates are broken pieces of machinery and rejected doll parts, which Emma begins to assemble into dolls of her own design. They are very different from the dolls her grandfather makes, but Emma says this is what makes them special.
Emma loves her dolls, and she has no idea how much they love her back, but when two burglars sneak into the cottage where Emma and her grandfather are fast asleep, her new monster dolls will prove exactly how special they really are…
Featuring a timeless story by Brian James Freeman and beautiful full-color artwork by Vincent Chong, The Girl Who Builds Monsters is a tale for all ages.
Reviews and Praise:
“There is so much to love in this new children’s book from Brian James Freeman and Vincent Chong. The illustrations are simple and understated, yet explode on the page. The story is equally simple and understated, yet contains a deep moral about inclusion and acceptance. Put the two together, and the result is a book destined to be named a classic… what a gorgeous hardcover it is — and one sure to retain the durability that will be needed through voluminous readings.”
— Mountain Times
“Vincent Chong’s illustrations really up the creepiness factor. It’s one thing to write about dolls, and another to draw them. I saw some aspects in the illustration, design, and use of font in the book that reminded me a bit of some of Dave McKean’s illustrations in The Wolves in the Walls… Chong shades her birthmark in while not letting it define her face or personality, and it is really wonderful to see her imagination at work as she takes ownership of turning damaged pieces into imperfect dolls that she can relate to. In Chong’s illustration of the dolls seen through Emma’s eyes, the monster dolls don’t seem monstrous…
For me, one of the things that makes this an absolutely outstanding book and a choice I would recommend for anyone working with elementary aged children is that it is one of the few picture books out there that depict disability in a positive and respectful way. Too often picture books about disabled people are educational texts describing a child’s disability for abled peers, and in the few fictional picture books, disabled people are rarely depicted as multifaceted individuals with positive characteristics…
Brian James Freeman has done a great job at subverting the trope of disability and disfigurement as villainous and monstrous, and celebrating imperfection, and it’s really exciting to see this. Highly recommended for grades K+.”