High Variance

Kid Book Review: Monster Edition

My three-year old daughter (R) is afraid of a variety of unusual things (like vacuum cleaners, our old housekeeper, Mango the stuffed monkey, and toy drills) and a few usual things (like the doctor) but for the most part she’s pretty brave. She loves all animals and creepy crawlies, and neither the dark nor heights phase her. Halloween is her favorite holiday and she still likes when we joke about all the vampires, mummies, and witches that live in the cemetary we drive by on our way to school. And some of her favorite books are about monsters. Most of these books seem to be written to help kids get over fears of monsters, but R just thinks they are hilarious. We recently came back from the library with a whole stack of monster books and it got me thinking about our all-time favorites.

The Monster Bed There's a Nightmare in My Closet Mrs. Muffley's Monster The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party Over in the Hollow The Goblin and the Empty Chair Birthday Monsters!

  1. The Monster Bed: A monster named Dennis is afraid of humans. We still call all monsters the monsters in our house Dennis. The art and rhymes are both great.

  2. There’s a Nightmare in My Closet: Mercer Mayer wrote this long before he achieved fame and fortune with his Critter books and it has a little bit of an edge. Like many other books on this list, it starts with a kid afraid of monsters and ends with the monster being pretty nice. In the middle, the kid fires his gun at the monster. The monster cries, the kid feels bad, and next thing you know they are cuddled up in bed together.

  3. Mrs. Muffley’s Monster: The art is kind of crazy and the story is goofy, but R loves it. And I do too.

  4. The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party: A puppy named Petra is scared of a monster that roams the house at night and neither her parents nor her three siblings can help her feel safe. But then they make a bunch of cookies and have a big party! A good time is had by all (including the monster) until mom and dad show up and send them back to bed. My daughter has this book at school and was so excited when she found it at the library. Our own copy from Amazon is on its way now.

  5. Over in the Hollow: The old song “Over in the Meadow” has been remade to death by children’s book authors, but this version never gets old. We’re so lucky the vampires haven’t turned R into a biter.

  6. The Goblin and the Empty Chair: Lots of kids books have two sets of jokes: one for the kids and one for the grown-ups that are along for the ride. This book has two stories. My daughter thinks it’s about a goblin who thinks he is ugly, helps some people, and then joins them for dinner. She has no idea that the family that the goblin helps is mourning the death of their son. Seriously, this is the Ordinary People picture book. It sounds crazy, but it works. And the art is awesome.

  7. Birthday Monsters!: This board book is geared toward a younger audience, but I still laugh when I see the monsters raid the fridge during a game of hide-and-seek. Sandra Boynton has so many good books, but this might be my favorite.