Saturday, January 18, 2020

Review - The Ultimate Survival Guide to Bedtime Monsters

The Ultimate Survival Guide to Bedtime Monsters
by Mitch Frost
illustrated by Daron Parton
Date: 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Do you lie awake at night worrying about monsters?

Donut monsters? Blue monsters? DANCING ROBOT MONSTERS?!

Then this is the book for you! Follow these ten easy steps and you'll never be bothered by monsters again. Not even carrot monsters.

Perfect for anyone, big or small, who's ever been afraid of what might be lurking under the bed.

(synopsis from NetGalley; see it on Goodreads)

This monster book is just okay. The pictures are passably cute (and not too scary) and the text is decent from a technical standpoint. But... it contradicts itself, discourages rereads, and generally just nullifies itself.

What do I mean? Well, basically, this is an instruction manual for keeping bedtime monsters at bay. Right off the bat, the audience is going to be limited because not all kids are worried about this. Anyway, the book gives steps on how to keep those pesky monsters from bothering you. It's a thinly veiled attempt to get kids to clean their rooms and brush their teeth. Which brings me to the first problem. Step 1 has kids tidying up their rooms because monsters hate messes (there's nowhere for them to hide). But then Step 5 has kids surrounding themselves with oodles of their toys because monsters hate big crowds. So are we trying to get kids to keep their rooms tidy or not?

A number of the steps are pretty pointless (and not really steps at all). Step 3 is, "Forget about dancing robot monsters. They don't exist." (Except in kids' minds where you've just planted the idea. Moving on...) Step 6 instructs readers to ignore the hairy monsters because they're vain and just want to play with their hair all night. Step 9 tells us not to worry about monsters shaped like doughnuts (they're more afraid of you than you are of them). Step 10 tells kids to take their socks off because they don't need them (monsters can't grab ankles because their arms are too weak... and so is this logic for going barefoot).

But then we get to the biggest head-scratcher of them all. As a bonus, the book apparently functions as a monster force-field that encompasses the entire house. All you have to do is read the book and close it and you're instantly protected from monsters! You don't have to bother cleaning your room or brushing your teeth. The book does all the hard work of monster repelling for you. (The last page tells us that these steps now work on closet monsters, too. I should hope so; closets are generally indoors, and would be inside the force-field.)

If a kid is really into monsters (i.e., loves them rather than fears them), this might be an okay book. But the lack of logic and the self-neutralizing nature of some of the steps is kind of confusing. I've read better books that deal with this topic.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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