Tuesday 25 February 2014

Night Monsters

Night Monsters by Nina Poulos, illustrated by Cheryl Westenberg (National Library of Australia)
PB RRP $17.99
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

The animals in the bush are afraid of the sounds they hear at night. Cackle the Kookaburra calls them together to hear their stories and try to find a way to calm them. She hears about noises that come from what they imagine to be monsters. They describe sounds like clack, hiss, snarl, snore, screech and roar, grunt and growl. There is also the beat of wings. But who is really making these noises?

Night Monsters is another terrific book from the NLA which features images from the library’s collection. Written in verse, it addresses the fears children experience at night caused by sounds they can’t identify, and which are often magnified by the silence, darkness, and their imagination. But most of the time an explanation for what they hear will alleviate their fears. So it is for the animals in the story.

All of the scary sounds that are mentioned are presented in large red letters. These can be a point of focus and discussion between parents and children. The thick laminated pages are practical and durable. Full page illustrations depict the frightened animals with facial expressions that speak louder than words, and complement the clever rhyming text.

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