It’s probably best to stick with Mercer Mayer’s classics or Josh Schneider’s Bedtime Monsters (2013).

THE PROBLEM WITH NOT BEING SCARED OF MONSTERS

If you’re not scared of monsters, there’s no problem…right?

A boy discovers that if you aren’t afraid of monsters, they’ll think you are one of them—and they will never leave you alone. He finds it hard to get out of bed in the morning, as the monsters all sleep with him. At school, recess can get a little out of hand when a horde of monsters joins in the games. He learns that living with monsters means there is never any hot water, and his favorite pajamas are always dirty (since the monsters borrow them). When he’s had enough and he sends them away, though, something really scary comes to his room: his little brother, who’s scared of the monsters under his bed. The older boy introduces the monsters to his little brother so they can enjoy a new friend. Richards’ picture-book debut is a passable addition to the dealing-with-fear-of-monsters shelf, but these monsters act more like unwanted houseguests or good-natured stalkers than something from under the bed. Furthermore, passing the annoyance on to a younger sibling doesn’t seem the best solution. Neubecker’s bright, furry, horned and tentacled monsters are more adorable than menacing, which may help allay monster fears among very timid readers. 

It’s probably best to stick with Mercer Mayer’s classics or Josh Schneider’s Bedtime Monsters (2013). (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62091-024-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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Funny though the illustrations are and loving though the text is, the book falls short due to lack of nuance.

BECAUSE I'M YOUR DAD

Unabashed sentimentality dominates the text in this loving promise from a father to his child.

What saves this title from being just a syrupy pronouncement are the characters. Santat has good fun creating scenes for two hairy, horned monsters, the dad pickle green and the child a pleasing purple. The somewhat cuddly pair is comically shown participating in their less-than-ordinary activities like “having spaghetti for breakfast, French toast for dinner, and rocky road ice cream in the bathtub.” They play with robots, listen to really loud music, burp like champions and miss school to visit New York to share a hot dog. Readers will smile at the low-key humor in the pictures. The page stating, “Because I’m your dad, you can sometimes stay up late with me to watch TV” depicts the father asleep while the child sits on the sofa terrified by what is on the screen. Warm moments abound, as when little monster is rolled up by her father in a blanket like a burrito or when the dad checks the closet and under the bed for monsters. Zappa wrote this story for his daughter, and it overflows with genuine fatherly affection that he would like to pass on, since his father (avant-garde rocker Frank Zappa) did the same for him.

Funny though the illustrations are and loving though the text is, the book falls short due to lack of nuance. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4774-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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A comforting lesson for kids that the things that we fear are only as large or small as we make them.

TRAP THE MONSTER!

Children turn the tables on an impressive array of not-too-scary monsters in this interactive celebration of toddler empowerment imported from France.

Young readers show a big bad wolf, a toothy sea serpent, a furry four-eyed monster, a vampire, and a growling ogre who’s boss in this clever board book. Each four-page encounter begins, on verso, with the question, “If you are afraid of this [wolf/monster/etc.]…”; this is followed by the instruction to “…turn the page…” on recto. On the page to be turned is a die-cut pattern. Four rectangular cutouts that serve as tree trunks on recto prove to be the bars of a jail cell in which the wolf from the previous spread is imprisoned on verso, for example. The facing page exclaims, “You sent it to jail! Now lock the door with the key.” Similarly, an enormous “sea dragon” menaces a boat with a die-cut sail in one scene, but after a turn of the page, the dragon’s startled head peers out from under the lid of a simmering pot on a stovetop. “Good job! You put it in a pot! Now you can cook it with potatoes!” Cartoonishly rendered characters with big eyes, outsized jaws and teeth, and lots of personality provide the perfect blend of ferocity and silliness. Bright colors and the clever cutout gimmicks add visual appeal.

A comforting lesson for kids that the things that we fear are only as large or small as we make them. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-945-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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