A little sister follows her two older brothers out into the big world of monster-hunting.
Bo lives with Erik and Ivar in a castle. The boys, lofty hunters setting out to catch an unspecified monster, scoff at Bo’s request to come along. Undeterred, she sneaks out of the castle after they’re gone “to catch a monster of her own.” She encounters a series of creatures—griffin, kraken, dragon—each of which she initially assumes is a monster but realizes is not. Bo learns quickly that the unfamiliar creatures (one of whom is a parent and therefore explicitly adult) not only are not monsters, but are so harmless that she can let them literally carry her. Being polite, offering directions, or needing a child’s help are the signals that immediately prove their trustworthiness, which may horrify safety-minded adults thinking about stranger danger. Child readers won’t care, but nor will they find vigor in Bo’s tale. The prose is tepid: “These creatures are helpful and nice and caring. We shouldn’t be hunting them!” The illustrations, done in gray, pink, teal, and dull orange, have a flattened perspective that gives this “land of mountains and forests” a compressed, two-dimensional sameness to each spread. Limited palettes are sometimes gems, but this one—lacking saturation changes or compositional zest—only continues the sameness as pages turn. Football-shaped eyes barely vary with expression; the humans are white as paper.
Here be no dragons. (Picture book. 3-6)