How I Met My Monster
by Noll, Amanda; McWilliam, Howard (ILT)

Five quirky little creatures vie to become Ethan's monster, charged with getting him into bed and keeping him there so that he falls asleep.

Amanda Noll is the author of the award-winning I Need My Monster and Hey, That's MY Monster. She teaches full-time and lives in Spanaway, Washington. Howard McWilliam is the award-winning illustrator of I Need My Monster, Hey That's MY Monster!, When a Dragon Moves In, and many other children's books. He is the cover artist of The Week (US and UK), and he lives in Cheltenham, England.

This prequel to Noll's I Need My Monster (2009) is reminiscent of the Pixar film Monsters, Inc., in which professional monsters visit bedrooms to scare young children. When little Ethan reaches under his bed for a toy truck, he discovers five pairs of huge eyes staring back at him. A number of potential monsters have come to compete for the role of scaring him into staying in bed all night. Having blown their cover, the monsters emerge and take turns auditioning to see who can scare Ethan the most. The monsters are quite small, though, and he isn't easy to scare; in fact, Ethan is delighted by the monsters' amusing antics. McWilliam's illustrations, done in pencil and digital acrylic paint, are bright and wonderfully lifelike-so much so that even the goofy-looking monsters may be a bit too much for the youngest readers. For those children who are ready for a little scare, though, this is a clever, fun romp. Grades K-2. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

In a tardy prequel to I Need My Monster (2009), candidates for that coveted spot under the bed audition. As the distressingly unflappable young narrator looks on, one monster after another gives it a go—but even with three mouths, the best roar Genghis can manage is a puny "blurp!", silly shadow puppets by shaggy Morgan elicit only a sneeze, and red Abigail's attempt to startle by hiding in the fridge merely leaves her shivering and pathetic. Fortunately, there's Gabe, who knows just how to turn big and hairy while lurking outside the bathroom and whose red-eyed stare and gross drooling sends the lad scrambling into bed to save his toes. "Kid, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," the toothy terror growls. Right he is, the lad concludes, snuggling down beneath the covers: "His snorts and ooze were perfect." As usual, the white-presenting child's big, bright, smiling face and the assortment of bumbling monsters rendered in oversaturated hues keep any actual scariness at tentacle's length. Moreover, Monster, Inc. fans will delight in McWilliam's painstaki ng details of fang, claw, hair, and scales. Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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