Okay, true confessions time. I had a lock installed on my closet after being scared silly when one of my cousins (now a heart surgeon) played a prank on me during an extended session of hide and seek. Now if I’d had a monster to count on to keep all interlopers away and to keep me tucked up tightly, I’d have never gotten the lock, but then again, I had a captain’s bed so where would my monster have lived?
In this imaginative and must-have children’s book (an Indie Next Children’s Pick for summer 2009, chosen by independent booksellers), one night young Ethan looks under his bed and discovers his monster missing along with a note:
GONE FISHING. BACK IN A WEEK.
Now what’s a boy to do with an absentee monster? How is he supposed to fall asleep at night? In a quest for a scary substitute, Ethan knocks on his floorboards and wonders who he has summoned. Enter Herbert (his name being the first clue as to his monster-ability), but upon seeing Herbert’s lack of claws, Ethan quickly dispatches him.
When a new monster named Ralph, with well-groomed claws, appears on the scene, followed by a girl monster called Cynthia, Ethan remains disappointed as clearly no one fits the bill. Upon being told by yet a fifth monster that perhaps Gabe’s gone because Ethan is just “SO-O-O picky,” Ethan grows concerned that he’ll never get to sleep until some familiar loud creaking and scratches alert him to one more monster. Is Gabe back? Or will Ethan have to pull an all nighter?
This book is sure to entertain children whose fear of those “things that go bump in the night” is as prevalent today as it was during my lock-on-closet-door-days decades ago. At last we have a story that will help children discuss this perennial fear and look at it from a whole new perspective with the broadest grin on their faces…and one eye on the foot of the bed. What does your under-the-bed, blanket-stealing, pinky-nibbling monster look like?
NOTE: I loved the artwork in this book and felt that both the illustrations and characters would work well as a children’s TV cartoon series.. Ethan and Gabe would get up to all sorts of adventures together (if Ethan dared step down from the bed)! If your child is still itching for more monster fun, Flashlight Press has some great options:
1) Kids can print out a Make Your Own Monster page from the Flashlight Press website. Click here for monster parts to color, cut out and paste in all kinds of combinations. If kids want they can send a scan to the publisher and they will add it to the online Monster Gallery!
2) Look out for the book this October where it is being featured in both Borders and Barnes & Noble stores, in “Spooky Books for Kids” – a lead-in to Halloween. After buying the book and bringing it home, readers can request a free autographed bookplate to stick in the front of their copy by clicking here.