A boy is horrified as his older brother collects increasing numbers of scary and creepy creatures—and brings them all in the house!
Nesbitt delivers this overlong cumulative tale in a series of rhyming couplets. The awestruck younger brother narrates. “It happened just last Halloween, / the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen: / My brother went out after dark / and found a monster in the park.” Soon two hairy spiders, three rats, four toads, five black cats, and so on have invaded their house. The younger brother repeats, “I hope our parents don’t find out,” at the end of each new iteration. The text describes the mayhem that ensues while Slonim has fun giving the various animals hilarious expressions with his cartoon illustrations. Finally the dreaded moment comes when the parents arrive. But instead of gruesome unwanted visitors, there is a menagerie of more welcome inhabitants, including caterpillars, butterflies, geckos, kittens, and gerbils. The original monster that started the story is “a shaggy dog, just big and hairy.” The story takes yet another surprise twist after this one, and with few clues as to its internal logic, readers may find themselves scratching their heads.
This title could be a fit for those kids whose imaginations occasionally run amok or those whose memories of actual events get wildly embellished. (Picture book. 5-7)