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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party, by Leslie Patricelli. Candlewick, Random House. 2010. $19.00 ages 4 and up

"Then they set the table. Everything was just right.
When it was bedtime, the puppies were so excited
that none of them could sleep.
Then Papa had a quiet contest.
No one wanted to lose. And finally they nodded off."

Everyone else in the house sleeps. Not Petra! She has a deathly fear of the MONSTER. No amount of cajoling tames the fear. Her mother and father reassure, his siblings use magic and threats to keep him away. Petra can't relax, even when surrounded by sixteen stuffed animals.

Fear of being eaten by that monster is what fuels Petra's concern. Why not feed the monster something more delicious than a puppy? Cookies would be a great alternative. They get busy with Mama's help and even leave a note, inviting the monster to enjoy. When all is ready, the children head to bed and are encouraged to drift off with a quiet contest, organized by Papa.

In the middle of the night, Petra hears the monster and all the children determine to face the intruder with their sister. Sure enough, there's a monster! What happens next is endearing, and will give young readers a sense of empathy and quiet peace.

Be sure to check the endpapers as you share this lively story with your little ones. They tell a story of their own.

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