Can a magic monster patch make the monsters go away?
“There once was a boy with a monster problem.” Monsters lurk, waiting for him to bed down—hiding under the bed, in the closet, in the laundry, under the rug, and even in the fishbowl. He is so scared he can’t fall asleep. “He was afraid of monsters with zillions of eyes watching him, monsters with zillions of hands grabbing him, / and monsters with cavity-filled teeth gobbling him up.” This little boy is so afraid of so many monsters (exhaustively enumerated) that his parents give him “a magic monster patch to put on his pajamas” that makes him invisible to monsters. It works, of course, and the monsters grow bored and leave to find a more susceptible kid. The protagonist shares the badge with a friend, who shares it with another friend, and now—the protagonist points straight out of the book, like Uncle Sam—it’s the reader’s, included with the book. (A downloadable patch will also be available on the publisher’s website.) Chouteau’s picture book teaches its lesson with clunky, mundane prose, and, even though the monsters look more funny than scary in Even Or’s unsubtle cartoon illustrations, the catalog of hiding places and monster types may serve to scare youngsters with real fears. The narrator and his family present white; his friends are children of color.
A slick, well-intentioned package that offers nothing new to the dispelling-monsters genre, though it may be of some use in homes with persistent monster problems. (Picture book. 3-5)