Avi fears the monster that scares him at night, so his older sister, Swati, suggests solutions to help him deal with that fear in this Indian import.
He tries drawing the monster on a piece of paper and locking it in a box, but that doesn’t work. Swati then recommends writing a letter to the monster, and lo and behold, the monster writes back, its letter tucked under Avi’s pillow by morning and signed “Not a Night Monster.” So begins a correspondence between Avi and the Night Monster. Avi writes to the Night Monster that it scares him with shadows, hooting noises, moving curtains. The Night Monster explains that it doesn’t want to scare Avi, going on to tell him about shadows that play with each other, the owl that hoots, and the wind that “likes to make the curtains dance.” Two letters are in a lift-the-flap form, while the rest of them are in standard format. Striking mixed-media illustrations in a dark blue palette provide a strong sense of Avi’s fear. They create an ambiance that works well with the spare text, just scary enough for older preschoolers and early elementary–age kids. The illustrations show both siblings with dark hair and pale skin. The rather abrupt ending reveals that Swati has secretly written the Night Monster’s letters to help Avi combat his fear of the dark.
Winner of the 2017 Jarul Book Children’s Choice Award in India, this kind and playful book may help young readers like Avi to understand and overcome this nearly universal childhood fear. (Picture book. 4-8)