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Review of If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed

vega_if your monster won't go to bedIf Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed
by Denise Vega; illus. by Zachariah OHora
Primary    Knopf    40 pp.
3/17    978-0-553-49655-0    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-553-49656-7    $20.99    g
e-book ed.  978-0-553-49657-4    $10.99

In tongue-in-cheek direct-address text, Vega provides children with an entertaining manual for putting unruly monsters to sleep: “Let’s review a bedtime routine guaranteed to help any monster drift off into peaceful nightmare-land.” She starts with the don’ts: don’t ask your parents for help (they’re useless with monsters); don’t suggest counting sheep (they’re too tasty); no warm milk (unless it’s rotten, but that would keep the monster up all night “burping sour, green, dirty-underwear-smelling-burps — and who wants that…?”). The do list includes slimy bedtime bug juice, an ice-cold bath, and a scary story. It works, and soon the monster is snoring. OHora’s thick-lined illustrations — listed on the copyright page as “acrylic paint on 140-lb. BFK Rives printing paper. You read that right, just old-school paint on paper” — show a brown-skinned girl (her mom is African American, her dad is white) bossing around a large, rainbow-sherbet-hued, non-scary monster. The little girl’s reputation precedes her: the story ends with a line down the street of neighborhood kids seeking her monster-whispering services.

From the March/April 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.

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