Ava the Monster Slayer: Cousin Power

Sky Pony. (Ava the Monster Slayer). Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781510748101.
K-Gr 2–After saving her favorite stuffed animal, Piggy, from the basement monsters in her first book, Ava faces a new challenge. Upon returning from their first evening hike at sleepaway camp, Ava and her cousin, Sophia, discover their comfort stuffed animals (Piggy and Teddy) did not make it back from the hike with them. Their cabin counselor tells them a rescue mission must wait until morning but leaving their beloved stuffies in the woods with “wild animals and ghosts and monsters” is not an option for them. They must brave the deep, dark forest and its monsters to save their loved ones (despite knowing sneaking out is wrong). First, they fashion weapons from a coat hanger, ball, pop rocks, rubber band, and sticks. Then they sneak away despite their fear and lack of a working flashlight. They slink, creep, and tiptoe through the woods with fierce faces and, despite being afraid, successfully battle a serpent, vampire bat, and the tree monster holding Piggy and Teddy. The tale is just a little scary, and the illustrations perfectly heighten the fear, fierceness, and love with atmospheric darkness, scary monsters, and the right amount of color to lighten things up. Ava is depicted with light skin tones and brown hair while Sophia has darker skin and curly black hair.
VERDICT Ava and Sophia marshal their resources, manage their fear, and save their stuffies. Works fine as a stand-alone story. Purchase as needed.

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