In a surreal dreamscape filled with colorful monsters, a child’s initial fright turns to whimsy upon realizing they are in control of their own destiny.
A pajama-clad child and T. Rex sidekick suddenly appear in a dark, foreboding landscape, watched by eyes hidden among the plants. But as monsters and fairies emerge, so does a…Harley Davidson? The child-narrator quickly understands that this is just a dream, and in rhyming couplets, the story turns fanciful as the child starts to boss the monsters around. Soon, they are working on a Hollywood-style movie with the monsters as the cast and crew, the child as director, and dino as assistant. Finally, they collapse in a tired heap, leaving the child back in bed, snuggling with the stuffed dino. It takes a few pages for the poetry to find its stride, as if the frightening first spreads were not part of the text proper. Staub also initially plays with language, delaying the rhyme with a page turn or pre-empting an obvious rhyme with a surprise word. However, these fillips are more distracting than clever, and it isn’t until the poetry (and the protagonist’s confidence) finds its stride that the book begins to charm. Illustrator Liu’s digital art looks hand-drawn, with a childlike sense of play that conveys the humor. The child has light skin and straight, black hair cut in a pageboy.
A solid but unexceptional rhyming story about conquering one’s nighttime fears. (Picture book. 4-8)