Since a monster lurks somewhere in the room of nearly every lively child at bedtime, another book about the experience is inevitable.
When Arnold tries to delay his bedtime, his mother offers him the universal parental commonplace about dealing with fears, in this case, the monster that bites off toes: “I’m sure he’s just as scared of you as you are of him.” Of course, as soon as the light is out, the terrible toe biter appears, followed by the horrible tooth gnasher, the winged fargle and the grozny buzzler. Each takes refuge from the next under Arnold’s covers. But it’s Arnold, known for his destruction of New York (seen in the opening pages as an imaginative, playful rampage with block towers) and his biting off of animal heads (his bedtime cookie snack), the monsters fear most. Arnold’s revelation of his identity sends the monsters back into the camouflage of his nighttime room, their outlines visible against the slightly open door of the closet, the radiator knob, the mobile above Arnold’s bed and the toy under the bed. Schneider’s cartoon style and plain, sturdy boy (with no pupils, like Little Orphan Annie) allow the only slightly scary monsters to stand out a bit—each quite different from the next.
Sure to be someone’s first choice of bedtime tale for a few nights. (Picture book. 3-6)