One night, when Ethan checks under the bed for his monster, he finds a note instead:
"Gone fishing. Back in a week. –Gabe"
What will Ethan do? He needs a monster under his bed. How is he supposed to get to sleep if
his monster is gone?
Substitute monsters appear, but none are just right. Herbert's teeth aren't sharp enough, Mack's
slobbering induces giggles, Cynthia's tail isn't scary at all, and Ralph has nail polish on his claws!
This will never work! How will Ethan ever get to sleep without his monster?
I Need My Monster is a unique monster-under-the-bed story for all monster-loving kids. The
perfect balance of giggles and shivers will keep you under your covers, and you'll soon be
Hardcover, 32 full color pages, ages 4-8
ISBN 9780979974625, April 2009
Praise for I Need My Monster
From Kirkus Reviews
"...an unusually well done double-debut."
From School Library Journal
"The dark humor is perfectly matched to McWilliam’s creepy-cute artwork. Any potential scariness in the text and art is offset
by the silly details that are included, making for a fun nighttime read for those who enjoy a bit of shiver as they are tucked in to bed.
This would also make a great read-aloud for a slightly older audience at a night-themed storyhour."
From Publishers Weekly
"Dramatic in perspective, McWilliam's exaggerated, digitally colored art renders the monsters in a spectrum of neon hues and
outlandish shapes. The collaborators ably balance some bedtime chills with humor, and Ethan's enthusiasm for his monster should
"...turns the tables on monster fears ...Noll's slyly humorous text is a suitably wry counterpoint to McWilliam’s dark-hued, exaggerated
paintings of the bobble-headed Ethan and his alternately scary and silly beasts. The entire effort strikes a nice balance between creepy
and comforting, but especially endearing is Gabe’s early return home as he huddles beneath the bed like a faithful dog and says, “Now,
if you don’t mind, I’d like to start the evening with an ominous puddle of drool.” That’s friendship for you." --Daniel Kraus
From Children's Literature
"In this humorous, comically exaggerated reversal of the usual fear of monsters there is plenty of good-natured scary stuff." --Kenneth
and Sylvia Marantz,
From The Horn Book
"Ethan's under-the-bed monster has "Gone Fishing." Missing the creature's familiar "ragged breathing," "nose-whistling," and "spooky
green ooze," Ethan wonders how he'll ever get to sleep. Substitute monsters apply, but none passes inspection. The humorous text
diffuses bedtime fears... digitally painted illustrations bring the sort-of-scary, mostly-silly monsters out of their lairs."
From The Sacramento Bee
"Monster tale so sly it oozes excellence... superbly silly... irresistible... a perfect read-aloud for squirmy youngsters, especially
boys.... exquisitely creepy, perfect for... all monster-lovers." --Judy Green
From Clothespin Puppets
"...I have a handful of “go-to” books for storytime and this is one of the top five.... Love, love, love this book!! First of all it’s a super simple,
silly story with great dialogue between the boy and the various monsters.... The illustrations are gorgeous and perfect. Each monster begs for a
very specific cartoony voice, which in turn makes this book a great read for storytime. And yes, someday I hope to adapt it into a full stage
show with puppets."
From Kid People Classroom
"...a funny, yet slightly "shivery" book, which is perfect for the pre-K-2nd grade set.... I especially love this book because:
• it was such a fine addition to my monster book collection! I felt lucky to stumble across it at my favorite bookstore a couple years ago
• the illustrations are very well done with unusual perspectives and angles, which add flavor and life
• the story is great to read straight, or if you have a storytelling nature like me, it lends itself to a great set-up, and voices throughout. Read
ahead to know each monster and what voice you'll use.
• it is not "really" scary at all, in story or colorful illustrations, yet kids easily relate to the scary idea of creatures under the bed. The
introduction of each substitute monster can be read in a way to highlight the suspense, build hold-them-in-the-palm-of-your-hand anticipation,
and add just a bit of scare to make it extra good...."
From 88mph to Roswell blog
"I Need My Monster, more like You Need This Book…. The writing is ripe with dialogue for adding silly and well deserved voices to
each of the monsters… The art work of I Need My Monster may be some of the best coloring I have ever seen in a children’s book,
it is of the quality of a high-end comic artist like Jim Lee in terms of mastery of the pencil mixed with the innocence of Tim Cratchit.
One could argue that may McWilliam the greatest artist out there… The story, typeset and layout are just so complementing… Noll
and McWilliam are the New York Yankees for kid’s picture books, with this product because they just drove it out of the
This is a funny, beautifully illustrated little picture book, about a little boy named Ethan whose regularly scheduled fearsome monster
goes fishing for a week. Obviously, he needs a monster…so he auditions some. The book is just a series of increasingly silly monster
auditions. The illustrations are really gorgeous, but the true joy of the book is reading it aloud and doing silly voices for all the various
monsters. Mine range all over, from a disgusting drool-slurping monster voice, to Christopher Lee…to, well, Marisa Tomei from My
Cousin Vinny. Look, you probably have to be there. Maybe the best part of the book for parents is that it’s a pleasure to read over
and over and over and over. It’s so well-loved around here, it long-since escaped the bounds of Halloween and is read all year
round. That’s love.
From Bookfoolery and Babble blog
"Okay, I'm just going to come right out and say it. I Need My Monster is my absolute favorite, so far, in today's book pile. It's
funny, clever and the illustrations are fabulous. Adults will want to just sit and stare, taking in the detail -- even the angles the illustrator
used are fascinating.... I love the story as much as the illustrations. I'd give this one a perfect 5/5 rating, if I felt like using numbers...
The bottom line: Love it, highly recommend it, would buy it for any child I read to."
From Diane Chen, Practically Paradise on SLJ.com
"Even my middle school students tried to pry it out of my hands to take home to read to their little brothers and sisters….a
satisfying twist to bedtime stories that enables the child to crave scarier and scarier monsters, to laugh at our fears and to curl up in the
end, deliciously scared of letting our toes dangle over the edge.… Be sure to put the book jacket out where students can touch and
shiver with delight. Come on, how can you miss when you have an eyeball for the letter 'O'?"
From Monster Librarian.com
"The same kids who loved [Newbery winning author] Neil Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls are sure to appreciate I Need
My Monster, too. Highly recommended." --Kirsten Kowalewski
From Scholastic Child Education Magazine, UK
"Beautifully moody illustrations give this story its atmosphere of dark spookiness. The colours glow and these excellent monsters are
the most interesting range of characters imaginable."
"I Need My Monster is one to take a look at..." Ed Spicer, a member of the 2009 Caldecott committee, in discussing books that
he feels "fly under the radar" and are worthy of being in the Caldecott discussion, in an interview and video (go to 8 minutes 20
seconds on the clip).
From A Patchwork of Books
"Between the simple hilarity of the story itself and the amazing, gorgeous illustrations, I Need My Monster is a brilliant
piece of picture book work. Boys and girls alike are going to love it and it's perfect for calming down bedtime jitters. I'm buying it for
every kid I know. Simple as that. —Amanda Snow
From Ed Hemingway, author/illustrator of Bump in the Night
"I Need My Monster is a must-read for any discerning monster-lover. A perfect bedtime companion. I'm keeping one copy on the
nightstand, and one under the bed!"
Listed in Library Sparks Magazine
Written up in Children's Writer (Dec 2011)
From Chit Chat blog "My new favorite picture book."
Cited in Texas Child Care Journal in an article entitled "Talking to Children About Monsters."
"Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam have turned a child's nightmare into a dream-come-true! Noll's story is enchanting, a child will
giggle at the silly substitute monsters and even smile at the menacing Gabe because he is talked about in such admiration by Ethan.
McWilliam's illustrations are nothing less than perfection for this tale. His monsters are as beautiful as those from the Disney film
Monsters Inc. and his backgrounds are so complete and detailed it leaves the reader right in the room with Ethan. I Need My Monster
is perfect for children of all ages, everyone can appreciate it for different reasons. A great story to tell little ones who are nervous to fall
asleep wondering what is lurking undernieth their bed. This is a charming book of friendship and love, an outstanding debut from
Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam." Madeline Audrey, Children's Librarian at the Rancho Santa Fe Library, on her blog, Madeline
"Fabulously illustrated, this is a wonderful book about change, loyalty, and friendship, all wrapped up in a lovable,
huggable monster! Oh, wait, did I say lovable and huggable? I meant SCARY!!!!" Antonia at Kepler's, Staff Recommendation
"...one of the best books I have ever seen for teens to read to children. The listeners will be laughing so hard and all wanting a monster
of their own! Great pretend book. The monster voices are slurpy, silly, giggly, deep and just fun to make!" C. Van Hook, Iowa
From A Penny and her Jots
Why I Like This Book: First off, I love the idea of a monster named Gabe. It’s so un-monsterly. And, the idea of a kid who NEEDS
his monster is very creative. Ethan tries to replace Gabe, so that he can go to sleep. But it’s hard to replace a monster that has such
wonderful characteristics…ragged breathing, nose-whistling, scrabbling, uncut claws, and spooky green ooze. As you can see, the
language is perfect for a monster book. Don’t you love the word scrabbling? Although polite, Ethan turns down several monsters
who would really like to sub in for Gabe. They aren’t quite up to his “monster” standards. The dialog between Ethan and those
“applying for the job” is hilarious. A plethora of well-timed action verbs, along with reach-out-and-grab-you illustrations,
keep the anticipation at a monster level. You will NEED to turn the pages:-) The fact that Gabe is so picky about his monster
and its level of scariness will have kids giggling, which will hopefully help them deal with their own monsters under the bed. And let’s
face it, some kids just love monsters no matter where they are. In that case, this book NEEDS to be added to their collection of
With illustrations that are vivid, bold, and wholly appealing, and a story that ensnares you from the first page, I Need My Monster is
genuinely brilliant. Perfect for story time, this one flirts frightening moments, yet is jam packed with fun and giggles. – changing hands
bookstore kids team 5 stars on GoodReads.com
"Masterfully lit fish-eyed views, fur, fangs, claws and interesting perspectives make seven monsters just scary enough to spotlight the
spunk of the picky, pajamaed lad who screens them... a really fun spin on bedtime anxiety and being afraid of being in your bed
alone... and then being in control of that fear... Stunningly gorgeous...." Mark and Andrea, Just One More Book.com podcast.
Listen to the full podcast here: Just One More Book or read a transcript of Mark and Andrea discussing I Need My Monster, by
"This amusing, colorful book is a fun way to dispel a very common childhood fear. It is sure to become your child’s favorite bedtime
read." Read Another Book blog
"...one of the best children’s books this reviewer has read recently....This is the perfect bed time story that your child will
want to read night after night." Jennifer LeBrun, Sacramento Book Review
"...Howard McWilliam illustrated the book with incredible cartoon-style artwork of Ethan and his missing monster plight that is both
endearing and disturbing. Together with Knoll the ingenious storybook duo have turned the monster under the bed concept on its head
and their darkly witty take on it have made bedtimes a little less frightening for children everywhere." Children's Bookstore.com
I Need My Monster, along with Where the Wild Things Are, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, and When a Monster is Born, are
part of the Reflection theme of the first nine weeks of school, at TeacherThinkTank.com
"The drawings reminded me of Monster's Inc. with all the charming saliva-dripping fangs, rolling multiple eyeballs, and colorful
warts. ...I think [McWilliams] has a fiendishly promising career. ...A monstrously cute tale proclaiming...that monster's can be our
friends!" Women's Press
"...a fun and unusual premise, and the pictures match perfectly. ...It’s a vivid style reminiscent of Pixar, with lots of inventive monsters
and Ethan’s big-eyed reactions. This is perfect both for kids enamored of monsters, as mine is, and could help those afraid of monsters
to put a more pleasant spin on them." Library Mama blog
"Children will laugh at the boy's nighttime trials, but watch out, because if Gabe comes back, even fearless Ethan will get a shiver or
two." OC Family
"McWilliam’s delightful cartoony illustrations parade a menagerie of strange monsters while keeping them humorous and non
threatening for the reader. Striking a nice balance between funny and creepy, this offering should please young monster lovers."
BayViews, the review journal of The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California
"This book is simply FABAWESOMAZING! (I couldn't pick just one word to describe its coolness so you got three in one.)
Madness by Mattie blog
The Writing Room.com, Catherine A. Winn
"...One of the first things that will grab your attention when you pick up a copy of I Need My Monster is the magnificent illustrations by
Howard McWilliam, which depict the monsters in all their fanciful glory - from Ralph who is a professional monster who uses nail
polish on his claws to Herbert who doesn't have any claws at all. While I might skip this book if the youngster in your life has a real
fear of a monster under the bed, I highly recommend it for everyone else. Amanda Noll uses humor and wit to explain the boy's need
for a monster under the bed, and why he is so particular about the required qualifications for a substitute monster. The end result is a
charming story that most kids will find funny and not the least bit scary. Please note: Although not marketed as a large print book, I
Need My Monster is printed in a slight larger than 16-point font size, making it qualify as a large print book. Not only does this large
font size make it easier for new readers to enjoy the book, it will also prove a boon to anyone needing, or desirous, of large print
material to read out loud to little ones who cannot yet read on their own." Anna Dogole, LargePrintReviews.com
"[the pictures] glow with life and color and perfectly express the dark night, full of imagination. And the story is perfect…. This is a
new and exuberant riff on an old idea." Jean Little Library blog
"Zuzu hasn’t been this obsessed with a book since Sixteen Cows. I read I Need My Monster at least once a day right now. It’s a nice
twist on the monster-under-the-bed classic: a boy discovers that his monster has gone fishing for a week, and calls in a series of
replacement monsters. The idea is that the boy needs a scary monster under his bed to keep him from getting out of bed. He can’t fall
asleep without one. The replacement monsters are ok, but they’re not his usual monster, and the boy is beside himself with worry,
wondering how he’ll manage a week without Gabe (yes, his monster is named Gabe). Then — phew! — Gabe comes back, and all is
well. The replacement monsters are all pretty hilarious, and there’s something sweet and compelling about a boy being comforted by
his own personal scary monster, and about a monster being comforted by a boy who’s a challenge to scare." World of Julie Mom
on the Edge blog
"Meet Ethan, a child like any other, with big brown eyes and a ready smile. Then meet Ethan's nighttime pal - oh wait! you can't
because the monster under Ethan's bed (aptly named Gabe) has decided to go fishing for a week. What is Ethan to do without a
monster under his bed? How will he ever go to sleep without the fear of his toes being eaten off? Without the sound of scratching
claws or labored breathing? Why, he calls for a substitute!
Follow this silly tale written by Amanda Noll to find out just how Ethan will interview his substitute monsters while Gabe is on his
fishing trip. Like Goldilocks' unsatisfying porridge, Ethan's substitute monsters are anything but worthy. Your grade-schooler will be
howling with laughter when he sees a a monster with "no tail, but a long tongue to lick you with" and a hoity-toity monster with
manicured claws and even a girl monster trying to scare a boy!
Writer Amanda Noll and Illustrator Howard McWilliam hit it right on the mark for k-2 kids who might just need their monsters to
sleep! An hilarious tale that rebukes all that us grown-ups believe about that monster under your bed." Associated Content from
Yahoo by Shannan Siegwart Small
A suggested summer read on the Book It! website. Book It! is a reading incentive program for schools sponsored by Pizza Hut.
"The illustrations pair perfectly with this unusual tale of friendship. The young ones may scream as you read, but when you’re done they
will be asking for more." Florida Library Youth Program
"...a treat to read aloud.... A perfect pairing [of illustrations] with the text.... ideal for pajama story times because the monsters are
frightening but great fun. It reads aloud well and offers readers a great range of voices and sound effects."Tasha Saecker, director of
the Menasha, Wisconsin, Public Library
"What a super turnaround of a story! Every child will want their own monster!" —HealthyBooks.co.uk
"Overall, this is a super title with excellent illustrations and a fun read! I would highly recommend I Need My Monster for libraries
with large budgets!" Alisha Baber, Lane Education Service District
"Striking, illustrations of cinema-quality cartoon art add just the right touch to this bedtime book perfect for parents to share with young
people savvy enough to enjoy the irony of the premise!" Midwest Book Review, Children's Bookwatch
"I admit I picked up this book because of its adorable illustrations, but I assure you the story is just as cute.... I won't spoil the ending,
but it's sure to send your kiddos off to LaLa Land with a smile on their faces." Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt, Boy Book Club, It's Good to Be
"A picture book for children ages 4-8 about an under-the-bed monster who takes off fishing for a week, forcing the bed's occupant —
a monster-loving boy — to turn to totally inadequate substitutes." The Seattle Times
"Many children are afraid of monsters, but not Ethan. Ethan needs his slobbery, scary beast, named Gabe, who has suddenly
disappeared. Join Ethan as monster after monster appears under his bed, and watch as he turns down each one, claiming they’re too
dopey, well-groomed or – and this one’s the worst – a girl. Children will laugh at the boy’s nighttime trials, but watch out, because if
Gabe comes back, even fearless Ethan will get a shiver or two." Inland Empire Family
"I Need My Monster is a very funny book your kids will love! The illustrations are breathtaking and the plot is both lighthearted and
meaningful." — Once Upon a Good Time.com
"...The last story I read was I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll. This was the only story I read that actually might be considered
scary. The illustrations, done by Howard McWilliam, are absolutely awesome. A young boy can't sleep because his monster was on
vacation. He interviews other monsters looking for long scary claws, creepy ooze, and a spiked tail. When none of the other
monsters come close, he worries that he won't ever get to sleep. Fortunately his monster returns early from vacation and he is able to
shiver himself to sleep." Storytime Book Nook.com
An interview with illustrator Howard McWilliam.
"The sly humor of Noll partnered with McWilliam's dark, digitally colored art, helps defuse nighttime concerns and replace them with
the realization that a child can overcome their fears." PBwithJ.com
Read full reviews here.
Also available in Korean, German, Hebrew, Polish, and Chinese
|Picture Books That Explore and Illuminate
|Watch Mrs. Bright's monstrous 2nd graders at their Book Parade in Alpharetta, GA.
Peek inside by clicking the cover
Listen to Rita Moreno read I Need My Monster
for the Screen Actors Guild's Storyline Online.
Watch the exceptional animated short film, I Need My Monster,
created by students at the Digital Animation Center of CU Denver.