My Big Bad Monster

Disney-Hyperion. Jul. 2019. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484728826.
PreS-Gr 1–A young girl struggles to escape from a monster of her own self-doubt. The young protagonist is introduced as she draws a picture. As she stares at her creation, a small dark cloud floats towards her and begins to mock her drawing. Frustrated and overcome by the ridicule, the little girl scribbles over the drawing. The monster sticks around and its hurtful comments and overbearing presence make the girl feel small and powerless. She even begins to sound like the monster, yelling cruel things at others. Then one day when the little girl has finally had enough, she discovers something that drowns out the monster’s ridicule and frees her creativity. Nearly wordless, this book relies on sharp contrasts in color and exuberantly written sound effects to communicate the young child’s feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. The monster begins as a small, dark scribbled cloud, emerging with a “zzzzzpt” from the ether, but it grows in size and volume the more the little girl listens to its hateful words. The cute and slightly comical illustrations keep the tone light while still conveying the child’s sadness and loneliness, and the minimal text adds just the right amount of narrative to move things along.
VERDICT Though simple, this story provides a jumping-off point for conversations about self-doubt, creativity, and bravery. Recommended for purchase

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