A group of not-very-scary monsters tries very hard to make friends with kids, which is exactly as problematic as one might expect.
In this companion book to the previous The Problem with Not Being Scared of Monsters (2014), the story is told from the point of view of the beasties. Led by an unnamed tentacled blue monster with yellow polka dots, the creatures try very hard to ingratiate themselves to the elementary school set. But, not surprisingly, “sleepovers end early,” and “always being ‘it’ gets old.” The text is largely a list of idea setups that the monsters play out, but the illustrations deliver the punch lines, such as the moment when “holidays get personal”: a group of kids wears Halloween masks identical to the faces of the embarrassed monsters. Awkward! The try-hard monster gang is endearing, eventually breaking through to one boy who stops being scared and starts being friendly. But never answered is why the monsters try so desperately to connect with kids when they already have one another as playmates. Nevertheless, there are witty moments (such as a list of self-help book covers including Pals for Poltergeists) and a sweet last page.
These cuddly monsters may be a little clichéd, but they get the narrative job done. Maybe they’re just that persistent. (Picture book. 4-8)