A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
Many of our most cherished times are shared with those we love. Even the wildest creatures must settle down to rest.
Positive Role Models
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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.