A maniacally cheery Mom and Dad give bored Ben a number of rainy-day activity suggestions, from reading to building a rocket to going on a dragon hunt, in Knapman’s silly boy-meets-monster tale.
Ben decides to build a fort instead, which alarms his parents, as forts, of course, attract monsters. Even in the fort, though, playing at pirates, knights and wizards is still so boring that Ben wishes for a monster. Suddenly, Burple, a green boy monster, pops in with a lunch box. “He seems harmless,” is Ben’s last thought before the monster inexplicably starts howling. Burple’s pink, snaggletoothed, dog-collared, amorphous lunch takes advantage of the commotion and escapes. The boys wrangle the “disgusting packed lunch” and stuff it back into the lunch box and sit on it. Monster and kid bond and proceed to read, build a rocket and hunt a dragon—sound familiar? Schauer’s crayonlike digital illustrations are bright and cartoonish. The background details are sure to catch youngsters’ attentions, especially the evolution of Burple’s lunch from snack to monster pet. Still, Knapman’s previous foray into unorthodox friendships, Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood, illustrated by Gwen Millward (2008), was cleverer and more successful in both concept and execution.
The lunch is the star of this book; both plot and humor are otherwise predictable. (Picture book. 4-7)