In this debut picture book, a boy’s parents find a way to help him when he’s too scared of monsters to go to bed.
Tommy, a young, brown-haired white boy, enjoys the things other kids do—baseball, the playground—but he’s afraid of bedtime. He puts off the routine as long as possible because he is convinced that monsters will get him. The sneaky things are never there when his parents look for them, waiting until later to terrify Tommy. While a night light helps, he still has to hide with a flashlight under the covers until he falls asleep. Then his parents get assistance from a pixie, who gives them a canister of spray that smells of lavender, which monsters hate. The next night, they spray their son’s pillow (“if a child does it, it does not work as well”), and Tommy’s monsters disappear. In his tale, Eastman doesn’t add much to the many books on nighttime fears and even on monster spray, but he includes some nice touches. That the parents are in charge of spraying means they’re entering the fray, and battling fears isn’t all on Tommy’s shoulders. The boy’s feelings are honored throughout in ways young readers should find reassuring. The images by debut illustrator Carson are a plus, nicely rendered with evocative details that portray Tommy’s emotions; the monsters are weird, but not too scary for children.
A practical technique, one many parents have found effective, presented with attractive illustrations.