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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Monster and Boy, written by Hannah Barnaby and illustrated by Anoosha Syed. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2020. $18.99 ages 6 and up

"But the monster loved the boy.
And the boy was hungry. So the
monster took a deep breath, puffed
out his furry chest, and pretended
he was feeling brave.

(Sometimes that's all it takes
to get your feet to move forward.)

The monster peeked around the door
into the kitchen."

In this first book of a brand-new series for readers wanting to move on to lengthier books, we meet the monster first and learn that he and the boy have never met. This monster is awake at night - aren't they all? Of course, that is exactly when the boy is sleeping. Because he has been around so long, the monster knows a great deal about the boy who sleeps in the bed above.

The boy's mother constantly assures him that monsters do not exist. One day, the monster decides he has had enough of that. He makes himself known to the boy, who looks like he might screech. In order to prevent what might happen with such a loud noise, the monster swallows the boy. What? That is no way to treat someone, is it?

Neither the boy nor the monster likes how it feels. However, the monster doesn't know how to change it. Eventually, he coughs the boy up. Together they face another problem. The boy is now the size of an insect. The author manages to placate the reader whenever anything scary happens. the monster invites readers to be part of the story, and adds background particulars as the story moves forward.

The cartoon images and humorous telling make this a friendship story for kids to savor. They will certainly be ready to read the second installment. This is a great start.

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