The Scariest Monster might be right; this might incite too many giggles for a bedtime story.

No one wants to be scared just before bed; better avoid this one. (Not!)

“Bedtime stories / make you sleepy. / This book won’t. / It’s much too CREEPY.” The horned, red-furred narrator, aka the World’s Scariest Monster, says they’ve got umpteen scary faces and their middle name is “Terror” (but their Scary Monster Society license reads: “Fluffy Terry McFluff”). The woodland animals the monster is trying to scare are a bit skeptical. The monster’s roars are loud but sound a bit like sneezes. No matter: “My monster gang / are a horrible bunch. / They’ll spread you on toast / and have you for lunch,” the monster goes on. The wide-eyed and extremely cuddly gang will indeed be happy to have the animals for lunch (as guests). The monster keeps trying, taking the gang to a haunted house (where they can’t even scare a mouse), a ghost pirate ship (where the scariest thing is a seal’s shadow), and a cave (where the gang are terrified). How about if they hide under your bed? But when the moon points out that the little monster looks sleepy, the tale does end in snores. McLaughlin’s boastful monster narrates the primary text in rhyme, with speech bubbles conveying both the forest creatures’ doubts and the monster gang members’ dialogue, which comically undermines the narrator at just about every turn. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The Scariest Monster might be right; this might incite too many giggles for a bedtime story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-84365-506-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pavilion Children's

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move.

An interactive board book promises a variety of experiences.

A book that gets kids up and moving sounds like a great idea. The half-circle cutout of the spine and large handle formed by another die cut on the right side are intriguing. Unfortunately, the rhyming instructions for using the book as an exercise prop are confusing. Even adults will find themselves puzzled when told to “paddle the floor,” or to “hang on the handles. Step over the book. / You're a turtle in its shell! Go peek out and look.” The busy pictures shift perspective according to each scenario presented but give few visual clues. For example, the only hint of a dinosaur on the page where readers are told to “put this book to your mouth and let out a roar” like a dinosaur are the teeth that line the edges of what is meant to be a gaping maw. It’s not always obvious whether the book is meant to be facing readers or turned away from them, adding another layer of confusion. Furthermore, many of the instructions run counter to how young children are typically taught to treat books, as when they are told to step on it and then waddle or to lift it with their feet. The relatively thin board pages and weak handles will soon be torn by normal handling; following the directions in the text will only hasten the destruction.

Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8733-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016


Bravery at its best.

A tot prepares for bedtime—and the monsters that come with it.

Armed with a colander on her head, a trusty flashlight, and a map of the monsters’ favorite hiding spots, Emi is ready. She just needs to stay very quiet and wait for a monster to spring her trap. Unfortunately, her dog, Cookie, doesn’t understand the importance of stillness. Cookie bounds after a ball, leaving Emi to face the dark unknown and attempt a daring rescue. Sweeping her flashlight from room to room, Emi searches for Cookie. Fluffy, friendly-looking monsters cower in the shadows as she passes. Emi’s courage shines through in comic-style speech bubbles: “I’m not SCARED!” she declares, just in case the monsters are listening (they are). Muted blue surroundings show the monsters, who are just as afraid of Emi as she is of them. Luckily, they duck in time and are never caught in her flashlight’s beam. Goggle-eyed Emi is the epitome of determination. “There aren’t even ANY monsters here. So boring.” Rich illustrations offer well-timed guffaws and silliness. The plucky protagonist is light-skinned; the monsters—furry, horned, and spiky. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bravery at its best. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75565-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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