Monday, March 29, 2010

is there a monster over there?

is there a monster over there? Reviewed by Eileen Hanley of

By: Sally O. Lee

ISBN: 1-4505-3102-4

ISBN, EAN: 978-1-4505-3102

Publisher: Lee Publishing

As I glanced at the cover of is there a monster over there?, I thought this must be a take-off on Mercer Mayer’s and Maurice Sendak’s well-known “monster” books. As I opened the book, I was greeted with a smiling little girl sitting on a couch with a precocious looking monster peeking out from behind. The setting gives us the feeling of urban living with a bicycle just beyond the front door. Her play horse and a picture book are beside her in this living area. We haven’t even turned to the first page yet, her name is unknown and we are hooked to know more.

It is Mabel hanging over the side of her bed, almost head to head with the monster under her bed, peeking at him outside her window, behind her door or at the foot of her bed ready to pounce. Mabel is afraid of monsters or at least this is what she wants us to think! Mabel and her cat Tiffany build a fort to keep them safe from monsters.

One day Mabel had second thoughts, what if monsters are just like us and not scary at all? She cautiously touches his wet and slimy nose, runs her fingers through his soft fur and strokes his smooth scales. The monster can’t take all of this touchy feely, he gets up and runs away. Mabel can’t believe it, he’s afraid of her just like she was afraid of him. Both Mabel and the monster give up their fears and go home to a celebratory tea party.

This is not just another “monster under the bed” book. It is much more than that giving us the message that if we examine our fears, make friends with our fears, we can overcome them and celebrate our power over things that disrupt our lives. The illustrations are wonderful and will give the younger child the context clues to understand the story visually. Sally O. Lee has taken a chance with this theme, but brings it up a notch to an emotionally enabling conclusion. Children need to know that they can have power over the way they feel.

4 1/2 Woofs

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