Monster & Son

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Monster & Son Book Poster Image
Monstrously funny -- and sweet -- book perfect for bedtime.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The array of mythical creatures may prompt some conversation about fantasy and reality. The most realistic creatures are wolves -- but these wolves perch on a branch, peering down at Little Red Riding Hood. The depiction of unconventional families shows that parent-child relationships are not unique to humans.

Positive Messages

Many of our most cherished times are shared with those we love. Even the wildest creatures must settle down to rest.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Wonderfully modeled relationships: The child is praised as "brave and fearless," and throughout the day of fun the parents are equal partners in play, sharing jokes, making music together, taking turns, and looking out for each other. Bedtime brings a "strong and tight" hug and a gentle goodnight.

Violence & Scariness

Funny scenes play on monsters' oversize nature: A yawning, oversize young gorilla clinging to a skyscraper grips a helicopter, ghoulish hands reach out of the dirt where skeletons play catch, severed hands ramp up the giggles when two of Frankenstein's monsters tickle each other, snacking Sasquatches destroy a campsite, and so on.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monster and Son, by David LaRochelle (Moo!, It's a Tiger!), is a playful bedtime book that shows monsters and mythical creatures -- yetis, sea serpents, ghouls, and more -- energetically enjoying their time together, often at the expense of humans around them. The background mayhem is always funny and never scary -- more often than not, the people they've disrupted with their fun are angry, not frightened. The humor lies in the illustrations, while the rhythmic text conveys a strong message about parental love and the pleasures of spending time together.

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What's the story?

The day dawns with a sleepy giant lizard, sprawled over a city, while a young monster wreaks havoc across the bay, kicking over buildings and waving buses in the air. As the day goes on, parent-and-child monster pairs enjoy time together -- oblivious to the chaos they cause with their giddy fun. Sea snakes toss a ball in the ocean, capsizing sailboats; four-eyed ghosts make music in a darkened closet; laughing dragons set a castle ablaze; Sasquatches nibble on camping gear while annoyed campers cling to a tree for safety. Such an adventurous day tires out even the most fearsome creatures, however, and as night falls (or day breaks, in the case of a vampire family), the little monsters are gently tucked into bed.

Is it any good?

These wild creatures leave quite a mess in their wake as they enjoy a full day of fun together, but their delight in each other's company is contagious. Author David LaRochelle addresses MONSTER AND SON to readers, with special affection for the youngest ones: "You woke me with a monstrous roar, my brave and fearless son, and led the way that filled our day with rough and rowdy fun." Joey Chou's digital artwork is full of gorgeous hues and clever touches -- two creatures from the black lagoon go fishing in a stream, while the legs of oblivious swimmers dangle above them; a furious princess scowls at the dragons who've set her castle ablaze; cats wait to pounce on the balls of wrappings as a young mummy gets ready for bed.

This heartwarming bedtime book is a wonderful way to assure children that they're loved deeply and fiercely -- even when they behave a little monstrously.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how these monsters are like your own family. Which of these activities do you enjoy together?

  • Look at the expressions of the people in these scenes. How do you think they feel? 

  • Do you worry about monsters?

Book details

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