Sunday 29 August 2010


Monster by Andrew Daddo, illustrated by Bruce Whatley (ABC Books)

HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9780733322754
Reviewed by Tracey Slater

A little boy cannot go to sleep because of the monster in his bedroom. He calls out to his parents repeatedly and they answer with unsympathetic wisecracks and sarcasm. When the parents eventually order the boy into his bunk bed, both he and the monster drift off to sleep together.

Andrew Daddo has given us an unusual take on the ‘monster story’. The tone is humorous including some very light gross out humour, which is unlikely to offend the preschoolers out there.

Bruce Whatley has made the monster a sweet, timid, gummy creature with an under bite - not exactly a threat to children. The illustrations greatly enhance the text, adding a touch of ambiguity to the tale. The boy and the monster mirror each other throughout, so that in the end one is a little unsure whether the boy is actually the monster, or whether the boy is imagining that his sibling is a monster or whether the little boy is with a real monster- it’s somewhat open to interpretation.

There is a question of whether a preschool or early schoolchild would be comfortable with the ambiguous content, or whether they would ‘get’ the parental sarcasm. These aspects seem to tip the story towards a slightly older readership than probably intended. Overall, Monster is a sweet tale, setting out to prove that not all monsters are scary.

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