FICTION

Alfred’s Book of Monsters

Charlesbridge. Aug. 2019. 32p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781580898331.
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PreS-Gr 1–Alfred’s aunt wants him to join her for tea each day so that the pair might have a delightful time. However, Alfred does not want to have a delightful time and instead prefers to have a terrible time poring over the pages of his monster book. One day, Alfred has an genius idea to be able to combine both teatime and monsters and sends out a few invitations. The result is amusing, though certainly not the usual teatime. Streed’s illustrations are dark, with sepia tones, giving the book an endearing old-timey and eerie feel. The narrative is broken up with close-up views of Alfred’s monster book, giving readers a firsthand perspective and a glimpse at some inventive monsters, including the soul-stealing Lantern Man. The monsters are creepy and might be scary to some children, but are not overly graphic in depiction making them slightly more accessible. For example, one looks like a black dog with glowing red eyes, which might not be as frightening as some images could be. The story itself is relatable and funny, as there are often adults who want children’s attention when they would much rather do something more personally enjoyable.
VERDICT This is a wonderfully creative and silly story for readers who enjoy spooky and quirky tales and may be an early introduction to some future horror fans

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