FICTION

Monster and Boy

Holt/Godwin Bks. Jul. 2020. 144p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781250217837.
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Gr 1-3–One night, as a young boy goes to bed, he tells his mother that he is not afraid of monsters. The monster who lives under the bed hears the boy and decides to show him the error of his ways, but things go awry when the boy starts to scream and the monster accidentally swallows him. Together, the monster and the boy solve problems, journey through the house, and meet up with the boy’s precocious little sister before finally falling asleep. Young readers will find friends in monster and boy. On most of the pages, Syed’s silly and inviting illustrations are rendered in black, white, and teal and perfectly complement the duo’s amusing antics. The first line of each chapter is in teal and a different font, which may be challenging for early readers, but the rest of the text is easy to read with plenty of white space. Barnaby directly addresses the reader a few times throughout the story, as well as changes tenses. Newly emergent readers may find this style choice challenging, but it could work well as a teaching tool for slightly older readers or in a read-aloud setting. Otherwise, the language is straightforward and the illustrations work in tandem to support the text.
VERDICT This whimsical pair will be a hit with those looking for a playful, adventurous story for early independent chapter book readers. Most collections serving this age range will benefit from this addition.

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