Monsters in the Briny – Perfect Picture Book Friday

At last! A book that seeks to answer the burning question:

What do you do with a grumpy kraken?

Crabby, cranky, crusty kraken?

What do you do with a grumpy kraken?

Kraken in the briny.

Text ©Lynn Becker Illustration ©Scott Brundage

(My apologies for the washed out colors. The pages are quite glossy and do not photograph well.)

These intrepid kid sailors remain unfazed as their ship is seized by a kraken. Instead they…

Share some jokes and your best riddle,

Feed her cakes from Cookie’s griddle,

Teach her how to bow the fiddle,

Kraken in the briny.

Sporting meticulous meter and a huge sense of humor, this book will soon become a favorite sing-along in the classroom or home. My son is 18, and even he was singing it the other day. And I won’t mention that my husband sang it at the dinner table. No, I won’t say a word.

Each sea monster does its best to upset these sailors, but they are fearless, hearty souls who continue to play, sing, and take other actions, when needed….until they find themselves in the briny and get a wee bit grumpy, too.

Every parent who reaches the spread that asks “What do you do with a sickly serpent?” will recognize the responses, because they are what we do for our own little sea monsters when they’re feeling green.

I love that the author includes some fabulous vocabulary words like slewing and peevish that can be understood in context. Back matter includes a description of the mythical sea monsters encountered, along with sheet music for the complete song. And I can’t say enough about how the illustrator keeps the mood light in the illustrations, no matter how dire the capsize situation may be. This book is going to fly off the bookshelves.


Turn the song into reader’s theater, staging a full production in the classroom or living room.

Make an origami sea serpent, sea turtle, or a more difficult octopus.

Make up your own lyrics for a new verse about a different sea monster.

Pair this book with Giant Squid, a nonfiction story written by Candace Fleming.

Title: Monsters in the Briny

Author: Lynn Becker

Illustrator: Scott Brundage

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2022

Ages: preK-3rd grad

Themes: Sea monsters, sea shanty, songs

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

18 thoughts on “Monsters in the Briny – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Mona Voelkel says:

    Your review had me humming the excerpts out loud!!! This book sounds amazing! I would love to see a performance of this book!! Thank you so much for this great review. When I see a grumpy kraken, I now have a better sense of what to do!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      It’s an ear worm that hasn’t left my ear since I first read it, LOL. The rhyme/meter is so near perfect, it’s a great mentor text for anyone writing in rhyme. I’m thinking that my next Halloween costume should be a grumpy kraken.

  2. Annie Lynn/AnnieBirdd Music, LLC says:

    I loved this review Jilanne! I want this book! I have thought about going through public domain songs and putting lyrics to them, but I always have my own ideas I want to record, lol. That said, I think it’s a fantastic idea for teachers to be helped in finding public domain songs, so kids can make up their own song lyrics to go with whatever book they are reading, or use the book’s lyrics. I love that there is sheet music too! This is especially the kind of book that will work well at Library storytimes, and the song can be sung by all. I love some of the text too. Congrats Lynn, Scott & Sleeping Bear Press. Write me when you’re ready to record this baby!😉Stay well all. Keep dancing Jilanne.😃

  3. authorlaurablog says:

    When I met Lynn last fall at a local SCBWI connect and she talked about her book, it was right after I heard Stephen Colbert talk sing a sea shanty on his show because they were trending on TikTok. Lynn has really come up with something that everyone is excited about and our local indie bookstore, The Wandering Jellyfish, did a fabulous video dressed as pirates and playing instruments. So much fun!

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