From the Sacramento Bee Monster tale so sly it oozes excellence Ethan's in a quandary. It's bedtime and his monster, Gabe, is missing. When he looks for him under his bed, Ethan finds Gabe's note that says he's gone fishing – for a week. "What am I going to do?" Ethan frets, worrying about going to sleep without his monster. So begins the superbly silly, upside down monster story in the picture book "I Need My Monster" by Amanda Noll. It's irresistible. There's nothing soft and cuddly about this bedtime story. It bursts with ragged breathing, sharp claws and spooky green ooze, a perfect read-aloud for squirmy youngsters, especially boys. Ethan, desperate to find a substitute monster, taps gently on the floor under his bed and waits for a monster to apply. The first one to try out is Herbert. He's a huge, lime-green beast with horns, but he has no claws. Next is Ralph. Ethan asks him to extend his claws out from under the bed. Ethan expects to see a "horrible shaggy arm with sharp, ragged nails." Instead, he sees six wicked claws with nail polish and an arm with sleek, red fur. Dismissed. And so it goes. Ethan checks out two more remarkably gross applicants, but neither comes close to Gabe's ghoulish character. Monster Cynthia has great claws, but she wears a red bow on her ridiculously long yellow tail. Besides, a girl monster just won't do, Ethan admits. And Mack, who has excellent claws, gives Ethan the giggles when he loops his super-long, pink tongue over the back of a chair. Now, you can fantasize about what happens next or read it for yourself. I'm no spoiler, but I will say the end is exquisitely creepy, perfect for Ethan and all monster lovers. Artist Howard McWilliam matches this gently scary tale with exuberant illustrations. His drawings capture every stare and drop of drool in Noll's text, and his lustrous colors in digital acrylics put glossy shine on googly eyes, fat lips and grizzly claws. Youngsters can create their own monsters by collecting a few body parts at www.flashlightpress.com. —Judy Green
From Kirkus Reviews Fretting that he won't be able to get to sleep with[out] Gabe, his favorite under-the-bed monster, who has gone off on a fishing trip, a lad holds auditions for a temporary replacement. Unfortunately, the applicants are just not scary enough, despite full complements of talons, googly eyes and like monsterly accoutrements. Displaying a dab hand for accurately rendered fine detail and massy, solid-looking figures, McWilliam depicts a succession of outsize Monsters, Inc.-style creatures bulging up from beneath the young narrator's bed and then retreating grumpily after his polite rejections—until, at last, a pair of huge red eyes and "an ominous puddle of drool" signal the return of his customary bogey. "No other monster can scare me like you!" the child declares happily, and settles down for another untroubled night. A clever anxiety-defuser and an unusually well done double-debut. (Picture book. 5-8)
From School Library Journal When Ethan’s resident “under the bed” monster named Gabe takes an unexpected vacation, a host of substitutes applies to fill in for him. However, none meet the boy’s very picky requirements. Noll has great fun describing the interview process: “Do you have long teeth and scratchy claws?” Ethan asks the first candidate, Herbert. “No, but I have an overbite. And I’m a mouth breather.” Ralph has the requisite claws, but he polishes them so they are not scary enough. So it goes with all the candidates, until Gabe returns home early, allowing Ethan to get a good night’s sleep. 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.
And from Practically Paradise, a featured blog on School Library Journal "…you'll find yourself needing multiple copies for public libraries… 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'?" Read the entire column here
From PW - Publishers Weekly This debut picture book for both author and illustrator offers a droll take on the monster-under-the-bed theme. Ethan is distressed when he peers under the mattress for his monster but finds only a note: “Gone fishing. Back in a week.” How can he fall asleep without Gabe's “ragged breathing. His nose-whistling. The scrabbling of his uncut claws” and the “spooky green ooze” he emits? Concluding that he needs a substitute, the bug-eyed boy knocks on the floorboards to summon one, but the beasts that appear one by one aren't sufficiently menacing (“The whole point of having a monster, after all, was to keep me in bed, imagining all the scary stuff that could happen if I got out”). Ethan engages in spry repartee with the monsters he rejects before Gabe reappears, having cut short his trip. 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 prove infectious.
From Booklist Noll turns the tables on monster fears by introducing readers to Ethan, a little boy who can’t fall asleep without the ragged breathing and claw-scratching of his favorite monster, Gabe. But Gabe has left a note that he’s gone fishing, so Ethan knocks on his floor to summon a series of substitute ghoulies. Herbert, a horned green thing in a vest, doesn’t even have claws. And Ralph, a four-eyed, six-armed blob, has claws, but they’re painted and manicured. And Cynthia—well, no hard feelings, but a boy wants a boy monster, not a girl. 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 Edward Hemingway, author and 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!
From Children's Literature Our narrator is distressed to find a note under his bed one night. His monster Gabe has gone fishing. And he cannot possibly fall asleep without Gabe's scary noises and green ooze. Hopefully, he awaits a substitute. But Herbert, when he arrives, seems to have neither experience nor claws. Well-groomed Ralph's claws have nail polish on them. Scary claws and slimy tail cannot change the fact that Cynthia is a girl monster, not menacing enough. Mack's long tongue just makes him laugh. Fortunately, to his delight, Gabe returns, ready to do his job. McWilliam uses the end pages for scores of his drawings of monsters to set the stage. Of course the few chosen to star in this comic melodrama are fully developed in color using digital acrylic paint with pencil. The double-page scenes offer details of a young boy's bedroom lit only by a small lamp, with myriad shadows and a mysterious world under the bed. In this humorous, comically exaggerated reversal of the usual fear of monsters there is plenty of good-natured scary stuff. Gabe is refused the blanket and toes to nibble but takes the offered pillow under the bed. "Everything was back to normal. I shivered again. I'd be asleep in no time." Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
From Scholastic Child Education PLUS 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 thoroughly enjoyed doing the voices for each one but I found it impossible to read Ralph's part without sounding like Dale Winton, and Cynthia was definitely Jo Brand. In this story, the hero is missing his monster, 'Gabe' (who has unexpectedly gone fishing) and finds the replacements that turn up under his bed to be less than satisfactory - hardly scary at all. As our hero comments 'The whole point of having a monster, aftter all, was to keep me in bed, imagining all the scary stuff that could happen if I got out.' Well, quite! View the entire article here.
From A Patchwork of Books Oh how in love I fell with this charming book. I giggled, I chuckled, I stared in awe at the pictures, and when I closed the last page, I happily started at the beginning again. I think I may have found my favorite so far this year. I Need My Monster is written by Amanda Noll and illustrated by Howard McWilliam (and oh so deliciously so). It tells the story of a young boy named Ethan that is really scared to go to sleep. See, the monster that lives under his bed, Gabe? He's gone fishing and won't be back for a week. Now Ethan has to try to make due with a substitute monster, which doesn't go so well. The first monster's teeth aren't sharp enough, the second monster is too funny, the third's tale isn't scary, and the fourth has PAINTED CLAWS. Ethan doesn't think he will ever get to sleep without HIS monster. SO CUTE!! If you're good at reading aloud you can do lots of different voices for the different monsters, which I'm sure will crack your kids up. I can just picture reading this one at story time, all the different parts at which the kiddos are going to burst out laughing! 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 Just One More Book podcast You know what I love about this book? This book is ...[a] really fun spin on bedtime anxiety and being afraid of being in your bed alone...and then being in control of that fear.... I love the illustrations...the perspectives...the design of it...the lighting and the fish-eye wonky- ness of it.... Stunningly gorgeous... Listen to the entire podcast by clicking the link above, or read a transcript of Mark and Andrea discussing I Need My Monster, by clicking here.
From Sacramento Book Review I Need My Monster is one of the best children’s books this reviewer has read recently. For some reason kids are convinced they have monsters in their room, usually under their bed, that appear around bed time. Ethan is a little boy who instead of being scared of his monster, needs him to fall asleep. Gabe, Ethan’s monster, decides to take a fishing trip. Once Ethan finds this note he tries to find a suitable substitute for Gabe but no other monster has claws or a tail quite as scary as his. Gabe soon returns after he decides fishing isn’t really his sport. Ethan and Gabe are made for each other. McWilliam does an excellent job with the illustrations. They’re bright and playful, and capture the true essence of monsters. Noll also does an excellent job of portraying that monsters aren’t really that scary after all, and they shouldn’t be feared by young children. This is the perfect bed time story that your child will want to read night after night. —Jennifer LeBrun
From Monster Librarian.com Ethan has a problem. Gabe, the monster who lives under his bed, has gone on vacation, and it’s not easy to find a substitute monster as scary as Gabe. Herbert’s teeth aren’t sharp enough, Ralph’s claws are too manicured, Cynthia has a very non-scary pink bow on her tail, and Mack’s tongue reduces Ethan to giggles. How will he ever get to sleep without his nightly scare? There is a subversive appeal to I Need My Monster. Ethan manages just fine without his parents’ help, and he isn’t fooled by trickery. Instead, he quickly takes control of the situation. Ethan clearly has a special relationship with Gabe, one that’s outside both adult and monster norms, and the fear factor is an important part of that. The design of the book is very effective, and the illustrations complement the story’s combination of scares and giggles. While shadowed, they are whimsical and colorful, and scary monster claws and tails turn out to be attached to bright yellow, purple and green creatures more comic than they are frightening. Although I Need My Monster is targeted at 4-8 year olds, kids at the younger end of that spectrum may not have the sophistication to appreciate or understand the humor, and some of the word choices and illustrations could have a powerful impact. Particularly with the preschool crowd, this is a book to share and discuss. I Need My Monster is a great choice for middle and upper elementary kids who have outgrown their fears of the monster under the bed, and now enjoy a delicious scare, especially one leavened with humor. The same kids who loved Neil Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls are sure to appreciate I Need My Monster, too. Highly recommended.— Kirsten Kowalewski
From Bayviews: A different slant on children’s book reviews is published eleven times a year by the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California In a clever twist on the monster-under-the-bed scenario, Ethan is a young boy who can’t go to sleep without one. “The whole point of having a monster, after all, was to keep me in bed, imagining all the scary stuff that could happen if I got out.” When Ethan discovers that clawed and drooling Gabe, his usual monster, has gone fishing, he tries to get a substitute. One by one, a cast of silly and creepy monsters appear under Ethan’s bed ready to fill in, but the boy politely rejects each one. Manicured claws won’t work, a girl monster isn’t the right match for a boy, and a monster with a very long tongue just makes Ethan laugh. Our wide-eyed boy is finally content when Gabe returns early from his fishing trip (he scared all the fish away). 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. Sugene Yang-Kelly, Berkeley PL
From Donna O'Donnell Figurski and her KIDDLE CRITers Every kid has had a monster under his bed at some time or another, or maybe it was a monster hiding in the closet or stuck in a drawer or trapped under the blankets. But it was there – somewhere – and it was scary. No doubt! Monsters aren’t real – or are they? In the mind of a small child, monsters can be very real. I remember a long, white, flowing monster in my bedroom when I was about eight. It didn’t help that I lived across the street from a funeral home. I thought a ghost escaped. But it was only my curtains flapping in the night breeze. My mother tried to reassure me. My father said that monsters weren’t real. But I knew ... it was a monster. Ethan had a monster too - a long-clawed, ragged-breathing monster that oozed green slime. His monster was perfect. Ethan and his monster lived in harmony, until one day his monster went fishing leaving Ethan all alone. How was Ethan to live without his monster? How was he going to sleep? Ethan did what he had to do. He searched for another monster. Ethan found monsters with names like Herbert and Ralph. He found a blue monster with a purple tongue. He found monsters with nail polish and pink bows. He even found a yellow-spotted, girl monster. But none of these monsters were Ethan's monster. He needed his monster! The rest simply were not scary enough.
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group “Ethan’s monster’s name is Gabe,” said Rosie. “His monster had sharp claws and a spiked tail,” said Daisy. “He had green slime, too,” said Abby. “Ooze … green ooze,” corrected Rosie.” “I think Gabe was the scariest monster ever,” said Mark making a face. Mikaela shook her head in amazement. “I think it’s weird that someone needs a monster under his bed,” she said. “Yeah,” said Diego. “If I had a monster under my bed, I wouldn’t get up.” “I would feel scared,” said Juliana. “Who wouldn’t? I would scream my lungs out and turn blue.” “But, Ethan could not sleep without his monster,” explained Brayden. “He needs his monster,” agreed Abby. “But his monster went fishing,” said Juliana. “So he got “sub” monsters,” said Rena. “Just like teachers do.” “Their names were Ralph, Cynthia, Herbert, and Max,” said Tala. “Herbert was a pretty funny monster,” said Mikaela. “He had a really pointy moustache.” “The girl monster looked almost like a caterpillar … a really, really big caterpillar,” said Rena. “She had six arms,” said Brayden, “ … and nail polish,” he added disgustedly. “You could tell she was a girl, right?” “Of course that monster was a girl. Girls wear nail polish,” explained Callie. “Why would a monster wear nail polish?” wondered Jewel. “That would be crazy,” agreed Callie. “The problem was that Ethan did not want those substitutes,” said Lucy. “He thought they weren’t very monster-like,” said Rena. “Right!” said Rosie. “He wanted a scary monster.” “ … A monster that had claws,” explained Danae. “ … A freaky monster with a long, long, long tail,” said Mark. “ … And green ooze,” repeated Rosie. “He wanted Gabe back,” said Lucy. “If I wanted a monster I would want a green monster,” said Brayden. Danae shook her head. She had a totally different idea. “If I had a monster, I would have a girl monster,” she said. “My monster would have long hair and her skin would be pink.” Abby giggled. “My monster would be pretty and have two bows on her head,” she said. “… And lipstick,” added Callie laughing, too. But she wasn’t good because she was a girl,” said Juliana. Everyone thinks that girls are not as scary as boys,” said Abby.” “Girl monsters can be just as scary as boy monsters,” said Danae with conviction. “But, why would you even want a monster?” asked Jewel cynically, in her usual way. “Yeah!” agreed Callie. “Ever since I was really young, I was scared of monsters. I’m nine years old right now, and I am still scared of monsters,” she said and shivered. Danae agreed. “I used to be afraid of monsters when I was little, too. “I am not afraid of monsters,” interrupted Abby. “Now that I am eight years old, I’m not afraid of monsters, either,” said Danae. “They’re not really alive.” “If monsters really existed and they were in my room,” said Mikaela. “It would be a little creepy.” “I don’t believe in monsters,” said Callie, “but I am scared of them.” Mikaela could barely contain herself. “I never believed in monsters,” she said, “because there are no such thing as monsters. Everybody who believes in monsters actually thinks that monsters are going to do something to them. So if they actually exist, there would not be so many people on this planet … because the monsters would eat them or hurt them.” “Well …” said Brayden putting an end to the discussion. “I seriously don’t believe in monsters.”
Will Work for Fear: Interview with Author Amanda Noll on Ruby Winkle.com I Need My Monster is authored by Amanda Noll and complimented by the unique illustrative style of Howard McWilliam. I Need My Monster puts a spin on scary when Ethan discovers that the devoted monster under his bed has decided to go fishing. Fearing the loss of sleep without his fearful friend, Ethan turns to interviewing a list of monster substitutes. Unfortunately, each monster proves to be inadequate -- their fangs are too long, their slobbering too silly, their claws too clumsy.
Amanda Noll captures our dual fascination with creatures by making them both absurd and frightful as emphasized by McWilliam’s topsy turvy fish-eye perspective. Ms. Noll provided her own debacle with monsters in the following interview:
1) Do you remember the first story that you wrote?
No. Like most people I did some writing in high school but I did not begin writing earnestly until my mid-twenties.
2) What are your influences?
I love science fiction and fantasy. My personal bookshelf is full of McCaffrey, McKinnley, Croggon, Westerfeld, and Collins. I was raised on Dr. Who and adore the series.
3) What inspired the story I Need My Monster?
One night, after my neurotic 3 year old daughter got out of bed again, I wished that she was afraid of monsters. At the time she was afraid of almost everything, but monsters did not phase her one bit.
I know this is a poor reflection on my parenting skills, but I was desperate to get some rest, our fourth child was still an infant.
I think my lack of sleep, plus the desire for her to stay in bed, spawned the idea that if she did have a monster, he was doing a lousy job, or maybe he was gone. The story evolved from there.
4) What advice do you offer children’s book authors who are just starting out professionally?
Don’t wait until you retire to start writing! It really does take 7 – 10 years to see your first book in print. If you plan to write as a second career, start now.
Also, it’s important to write books that are current. Don’t try to write the kind of story you grew up with. Publishers don’t want dated material.
From Madness by Mattie blog This book is simply FABAWESOMAZING! (I couldn't pick just one word to describe its coolness so you got three in one) I could read this book over and over and love it more everytime. It is so well written and the pictures are incredible.
The author, Amanda Noll, is super gifted. I have reviewed a fair amount of books so far but without a doubt this one is beyond IMPRESSIVE. Amanda Noll did a fantastic job of creating hilariously scary monsters. I first looked at the small print and thought, uh-oh my two year old is never going to sit through this. Guess what? He sat through it, it didn't feel nearly as long as it was, and I was SAD, yes SAD, when it was over. I can't remember the last time I loved a kids book so much that I wanted to take it from my kids and go sit in a cozy corner and read it on my own.
The illustrator, Howard McWilliam, is also very gifted. The picture where the little boy is explaining that he needs a monster with claws is one of my favorites because it just so much character to the already amazing characters.
Tonight when I read this again to my five and three year old, we got to the end and Sydney, the oldest, said, "Mom that's scary!" I asked, "What?!" "The monsters are scary." So we went back through all the pictures and laughed at how SILLY the monsters really are, if you look closely. As we were doing this my son fell asleep. We got to the last monster and Sydney was laughing. Ryan woke up and said, "Mom, show me all the monsters again." Then flopped back down on the pillow and promptly fell back to sleep.
So the overall consensus is, by the end of the day 4 out of 4 LOVED this book. The real question is: what is the name of the monster under your bed? My monster's name is Lacey...cuz girls have to have a girl monster
From Princess Alethea's Magical Elixir Before I go, I want to mention one more book that I've absolutely fallen in love with. Every so often, a picture book crosses my desk that makes me want to email the author and gush and gush about it. (Adam Rex is still wiping off my gush over Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich.) I've just pulled up Amanda Noll's website (www.amandanoll.com) and am about to do the same. Howard McWilliam is next. This is their first book. You're going to want to own it. Here's the story: Ethan goes to bed one night and finds (*gasp*) that his regular monster has gone fishing (Gabe left him a note). Oh, no! What is Ethan to do? How will he sleep without a monster under his bed? So Ethan does what any intelligent boy with a purpose would do: he begins the process of interviewing prospective monsters for the position that Gabe has left vacant. The illustrations are like watching a movie -- if they made wallpaper out of the endpapers, I'd have it plastered all over my bedroom. The monsters are fantastic. Each gives it their all, but Ethan's a picky boy who knows what he wants . . . and what he doesn't. This book just made me smile from beginning to end. It's a bit long in the text, but still makes a great read-aloud. Better yet, it begs the interactive, art-inspiring follow-up question: what characteristics would you require in your perfect monster? —Alethea Kontis
From OC Family What makes a big adventure? Is it something you dream up – a make-believe trip into the unknown? Or can it happen right down the street, at the local playground? There’s a chance it could be filled with danger, or heroic feats, or maybe even a little bit of wit and wile. But whatever it is, one thing’s for certain: It will be fun. This month’s selection offers a look at eight adventures that, real or imagined, near or far, might inspire your child to embark on a journey of his or her own.... 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.
From Kids Lit This clever book could have been trite and contrived, but instead is filled with good humor and vivid monster characters. As one monster after another appears, they stay distinct and unique from one another. Each is visually different, but they also have different speech patterns, making them a treat to read aloud. McWilliam’s illustrations done in pencil with digital acrylic paint are vivid and will appeal to fans of Pixar films since they have a similar quality. McWilliam uses interesting perspectives and demonstrates a lot of humor in his work. A perfect pairing with the text. This book is 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.
From the Baton Rouge Advocate Doctors have found that many children who are allergic to peanuts can be cured of their allergies by … eating peanuts. They start them off with a minute amount — say a millionth of a peanut — and gradually work them up to half a dozen peanuts. It’s called desensitizing. This book does the same thing for children who have problems with monsters under their beds. When Ethan goes to bed one night, he checks under the bed for his monster, Gabe. There’s a note: Gabe has gone fishing and will be gone a week. How will Ethan get to sleep without his monster? He raps on the floor, hoping to get a substitute monster. Sure enough, one comes. But he’ s not scary enough, he doesn’t even have long, sharp claws. Ethan sends him away. Then another comes. He’s not scary enough either. Then a girl monster comes. No way is Ethan scared by a girl monster. And so it goes. The drawings are very lively and appealing, brightly colored and scary yet attractive in a Monsters Inc. kind of way. Just remember, the desensitizing thing doesn’t work every time. Good for 8-year-olds and younger children.—Greg Langley
A Kids' Corner Staff Recommended book at Kepler's Everybody knows that monsters live under the bed, but not everyone is as fond of their own personal monster as Ethan. Poor Ethan is ever so upset when he looks under the bed to wish his monster Gabe goodnight only to find a note telling him that Gabe has gone fishing for a week! Ethan needs his monster to get a good night's sleep, so what on earth is he going to do? Herbert, Ralph, Cynthia, and Mack all try to help out but they just aren't the same. Not the same scary claws, not the same scary, spiky tail, not the same snoring. Just not the same! What will poor Ethan do, and when will Gabe come back? 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
From HealthyBooks.co.uk When his monster, Gabe, leaves a note under the bed saying he has gone fishing for a week, the little boy is seriously disturbed. How will he sleep without Gabe under the bed with his sharp claws, 'his familiar scary noises and his spooky green ooze'? The little boy calls up a series of substitute monsters, but none of them fits the bill. One has nail polish on his claws; another is female with a pink bow on her tail; and another gives the little boy fits of giggles. It is only when Gabe returns, having tired of fishing because' those fish scare too easily', that the little boy can get off to sleep secure in the knowledge that his very own monster is the only one who can keep him scared enough to stay in bed. What a super turnaround of a story! Every child will want their own monster! The pictures are dark and properly menacing, but full of humour too, and the tone of both pictures and text is jaunty and casual.
From the Lane Education Service District I Need My Monster is an adorable story about Ethan, a young boy who is having some separation anxiety with Gabe, his monster. A monster? An actual kid who likes monsters? This is a very strange story indeed. When Ethan notices his monster-under-the-bed is gone, how will he get to sleep? Who will scare him now? As the reader turns each page there is a new monster up for the challenge. After denying several monsters on the basis that they don’t fit the right criteria or scare him, Ethan loses hope—what is a kid to do? Will Gabe ever return so Ethan can get some shut-eye? While the subject matter rings familiar with Monsters Inc, the content of I Need My Monster is an easy read and each page is filled with stunning illustrations by Howard McWilliam. Although some vocabulary might be just out of reach for younger readers, some follow up explanation would suffice. 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
From Julie M. Prince at YABooksCentral.com Making Fun of Fears Making fun of fears is nearly as good as facing them down. This book does both as Ethan literally comes face to face with the new monsters under his bed after his regular monster has gone fishing. Creaking and shrieking are only a couple of the shivery delights young readers can look forward to when they hear this bedtime tail...er, tale...about monsters with long (painted) claws and scary tails (with ribbons)! Hilarious illustrations accompany our wide-eyed hero through his sleepless night as he searches for just the right replacement monster during Gabe's vacation. Each substitute monster comes with his own set of problems, with claws that aren't quite right or missing green ooze. How can Ethan possibly get to sleep without Gabe? An eerily amusing read!
From Midwest Book Review I Need My Monster is a children's picturebook that turns a common trope about the a monster under the bed completely around. Young Ethan needs his monster ("Gabe") under the bed to fall asleep! Substitute monsters appear, but they just won't do; Herbert's teeth aren't sharp enough, and Mack's slobbering certainly isn't scary - it makes one giggle. 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!
From It's Good to Be the Queen.com, Boy Book Club I admit I picked up this book because of its adorable illustrations, but I assure you the story is just as cute. It's about a boy, whom we get to know only as "kid," and the four replacement monsters--Herbert, Ralph, Cynthia, and Mack--sent in to replace his usual under-the-bed- monster, Gabe, who's gone off fishing. For a week. That's bad news for a boy who can't sleep a single night without Gabe's ragged breathing, scrabbling claws, and spooky green ooze. Not that the replacements don't give it their best shot, before the kid quickly sends each packing. Herbert lacks claws, you see, and Ralph's claws aren't scary enough--even though he has thirty-six! Cynthia's defect is the bow on her tail. And Mack, well, Mack's threat of licking the boy with his lo-o-o-ng tongue sends him into hysterics. "Fine," says Mack, obviously offended. "I'm out of here. But I wouldn't expect another monster tonight if I were you." But almost immediately the boy hears loud creaking and scratching under his bed, and joy of joys, it's Gabe! Back from fishing, which held zero challenge. "You, however," says Gabe, "are challenging, my friend. You're almost too old to be afraid of monsters. You keep me on my toes. Ah, toes...a delicious snack." 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
The Seattle Times 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.