GODZILLA: Attack of the Baby Godzillas
 Gina Shaw
Language: English Release: 1998
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 32
Genre: Fiction ISBN: 0590681125

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Back Cover
Nicholas Driscoll

When the American GODZILLA movie was released in 1998, somebody correctly surmised that a primary audience of the film would be amongst that age set most susceptible to movies about gargantuan monsters smashing buildings: little kids. That is, kids much younger than 13. Some highly intelligent entrepreneur looked at the story for the movie, and then isolated perhaps the least appropriate bits for the youngest viewers—which is to say, the parts with the scariest monster scenes—and, instead of cutting them out, they decided to focus an entire juvenile picture book on those sequences. Oh, and they snipped off the ending of the movie, too. That is pretty much what you have with GODZILLA: Attack of the Baby Godzillas from Scholastic.

The story is taken right from the movie, with most of the establishing action cut out or trimmed way back in order to focus more on the velociraptor spawn and their deadly antics. The prose faithfully skims over the details, and ends with the baby-zillas getting blown to radioactive hamburger, and a mama Godzilla going berserk with rage. The end. At least this way we don't have to see what a pansy adult Godzilla turns out to be.

Right from the beginning the bad or downright lazy design decisions strike readers over the head. While the cover shows colorful artwork depicting the titular creatures bounding into the foreground in attack mode, inside there are no illustrations to speak of—visuals are provided by a host of mostly generic screenshots from the movie, six pages of which are basically headshots of the actors. Little kids are sure to love that. One memorable sequence describing dopey scientist Nick Tatopoulos nearly getting shot by eccentric French commando Phillipe Roache is illustrated with two mug shots of the actors looking disinterestedly at each other. Scintillating.

Gina Shaw (who also wrote a pile of picture books based on Tonka trucks) provides the prose which is appropriately simple for any readers too young or too lazy for vocabulary words. The writing isn't necessarily bad, but the project is simply ill-conceived because even what little character development that was in the movie is jettisoned for more mindless action, and surely even the youngest kids would be grossly disappointed with the idiotic cliffhanger ending. What, did they not want to give away the climax of the movie? The other short kids books based on the movie released at the same time gave it away, so what does it matter? From my experience, little kids really hate cliffhanger endings! And anyway, don't little kids like the giant dinosaurs generally more than the tiny ones? So shouldn't the story have focused on Big Mama prancing about through Manhattan instead of the Jurassic Park refugees eating people?

GODZILLA: Attack of the Baby Godzillas is just a sad shadow of the far superior Godzilla kids books released just a scant few years prior by Random House. The lack of time and attention is painfully obvious from start to finish, and any tiny G-fans of GINO would be better served playing the surprisingly enjoyable board game or, better yet, bashing some Bandai vinyls together. At any rate, I saw some copies of the book going for one cent on Amazon. This pitifully mediocre book can't attack your wallet—just your sense of self-pride.