With his dad’s help, a young frog conquers nighttime fears by harnessing his imagination.
Hamilton Squidlegger and his wooden sword thwart the (imaginary) threats looming in the swamp, be they fire-breathing frackensnapper, clawed skelecragon or twining bracklesneed. Hamilton’s bravado disappears at sunset, though, as his prodigious imagination animates those same fictive monsters. He flees his own mud for his “secret hideaway”—wedged between his sleepless parents. While Hamilton wakes refreshed and ready for more fearless exploits, his beleaguered dad’s weary of this pattern. He bakes Hamilton’s luscious fave, a “double-decker grasshopper worm-cake,” offering it as breakfast in exchange for Hamilton’s successful overnighter in his own mud. As a storm threatens, Hamilton worries: “What if a l-l-lightning monster comes tonight?” Dad encourages Hamilton to enlist his mind to turn the tide: “Think good thoughts is what I say. Monsters are silly, and they love to play!” More than a dozen full spreads, including a double gatefold, spool out Hamilton’s ensuing dream-adventure. A junked TV spews a pink-lemonade sea; a flying ship with a striped-bass cook unites Hamilton, his dad and the now-friendly monsters, who all sleep in their “very own cabins.” Ering’s pictures splice together spindle-legged, popeyed creatures, etchy linework, and lush layers of washy, brushy, splotchy, gorgeously colored paint. In the last image, Hamilton digs into that yummy worm cake at sunrise.
Appealing—and empowering. (Picture book. 3-7)