Monster Friends

Random/Graphic. Jun. 2021. 272p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781984896827.
Gr 2-5–Reggie, a shape-shifting young monster, who most often appears as a brown cyclops, is more than happy to spend his summer in the cozy home he’s house sitting for his cousins. After a traumatic experience in a cave with a fellow explorer, grumpy Reggie wants a bit of quiet. It’s not long before he meets Emily, a rabbitlike monster with the boundless enthusiasm of a large puppy. Emily takes a reluctant Reggie out to the seaside and into the village and introduces him to her sisters and loving parents. While Reggie gains trust in his new friends, he also helps Emily with sibling squabbles and insecurities. Additional characters include tigers and dinosaurs and a sea monster, all of whom are friendly in their own ways. Reggie learns how to deal with his fears, and Emily gets a chance to prove herself to her sisters. Vandorn’s endearing illustrations bring to life a lively and serene world. Subtle details add to the experience—for instance, dialogue bubbles are outlined in different colors depending on who is speaking. The very end of the story necessitates flipping back to the beginning, but it’s a minor quibble.
VERDICT Readers will wish that all monsters were this lovely. A winning tale of an unlikely friendship that will appeal to imaginative kids who love to daydream about adventures.

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