Godzilla Likes to Roar!
 Kerry Milliron
Language: English Release: 1998
Publisher: Random House Pages: 23
Genre: Fiction ISBN: 0679891250

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Back Cover
Nicholas Driscoll

Thanks goes to Sam Messerly for sending this in for review!

It's a fact of life: Just as Godzilla himself somehow spawned a little one (Minilla, Godzooky, or Little Godzilla, depending on the continuity), Godzilla fans inevitably produced children of their own. And, since even parents who happen to love Godzilla want to share their interests with their children whilst promoting literacy and learning, many American Godzilla collectors pined for children's books starring their favorite nuclear-powered monster blight on humankind. (Admittedly, a monstrous metaphor for the atomic bomb, a creature which causes mass destruction and untold, hideous deaths and radiation poisoning, is a strange subject for children's books, but I digress.) For years, there was nothing to fill this much-needed pop cultural void.

Then along came Random House in the mid-90s. Anticipating the coming release of the new, big budget American Godzilla film, and riding off the dinosaur-boom following the big splash made by Jurassic Park, the enormous publishing house put out a swath of Godzilla-related literature mostly aimed at the younger set and engaging the talents of one of the finest kaiju-artists of all time, Bob Eggleton, among others. Of the four books produced for the very young, the two most well-received had to have been those with Eggleton artwork inside, one of which I will be examining here: Godzilla Likes to Roar!

Released in 1998, two years after the first two G-children's books were published, Godzilla Likes to Roar! was written by Kerry Milliron, who provided the texts for numerous Random House children's books based on pop culture properties, such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Theodore the Tugboat, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. Milliron must have been satisfied with Eggleton's work here, for the two would work together again later on the Star Wars: Episode 1 book, Watch Out, Jar Jar! All that is to say, Milliron is experienced in jotting down text for the consumption of rugrats, and with Godzilla Likes to Roar! he produced what is probably the most accessible children's book of the G-line.

Milliron's text is extremely simple and printed large for easy readability, and is written in a basic ABAB rhyming pattern with a metrical rhythm of either three or four iambic feet per line. From the first four pages, here are two couplets:

Godzilla likes to roar,

to shake the sky and wake the sun.

Godzilla likes to roar,

Then greet his friends and have some fun.

Basically, each couplet has three iambic feet in the first line, and four in the second. This being (sometimes loosely) iambic meter, the accent falls almost without exception on every second syllable: godZILLa LIKES to ROAR. Milliron establishes a regular pattern for his simple, Hallmark-card-level poetry, and sticks to it throughout the book, producing a comforting, pleasant rhythm that should appeal to the younger set. It's effective and fun, if necessarily severely limited. Milliron never really mixes it up, and keeps the vocabulary level low to facilitate understanding—albeit this also does not encourage further word learning.

Godzilla Likes to Roar! essentially has no story; instead, what we have is a sequence of loosely connected events that make up Godzilla's day, centered around his roar. There is no inciting incident, no building action, and certainly no real climax. Instead, Godzilla roars and roars and roars some more, and sometimes takes time out to play with his fellow kaiju, eat coconuts, or, finally, sleep. There is nothing but the charm of the monsters and the poetry to keep kids interested, and no particular lessons to glean from any of the actions therein. Nevertheless, this is fun stuff, and the very young should enjoy reading it (or having it read to them) multiple times. Curiously, although Godzilla, Anguirus, Manda, Mothra, Rodan, and Varan are listed on the back, Mothra never makes an appearance anywhere in the book, which may disappoint some.

Bob Eggleton's art, as always, is very pleasing, with suit-accurate depictions of the monsters throughout. I've criticized Eggleton's Anguirus art in the past, but here the spiked one looks absolutely great, as do the rest of the reptilian beasts. The amount of detail put into the paintings is noticeably less than some of Eggleton's work elsewhere, especially in the backgrounds, which are quite sparse and sometimes even muddy, with a rocky avalanche looking particularly blurry. Nevertheless, in a book like this, it's the monsters that count, and Eggleton does a fine job that should satisfy most monster lovers. What is most odd, however, is the G-suit design used for all of the interior art. Though on the cover Godzilla is depicted with overlarge eyes in a style similar to the suit used in Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), inside Eggleton has painted the Big G using the ubiquitous Heisei design, which is a considerably more ferocious looking Godzilla. It would seem more appropriate, as well as consistent, to have kept to the almost chibi design utilized on the cover, considering the age group.

For all its minor issues, though, Godzilla Likes to Roar! is an adorable book with simple, pleasing writing and fine Godzilla art that creates a package any G-fan with little kids should enjoy. Even older fans with child-like hearts may well find something agreeable, if not particularly special, in this book.