I Want to Be in a Scary Story

Sean Taylor, illus. by Jean Jullien. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8953-7

In a sweet twist on the books-about-books theme from the duo behind Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise, a small purple monster asks an artist to craft a scary story for him. The artist is offstage; readers see only the monster, whose snaggly teeth, small horns, and generally unthreatening demeanor suggest that things won’t get overly frightening. “We could start the story in a dark and scary forest,” the artist offers. “That’s a good idea,” says Little Monster; their conversations are color coded so it’s always clear who’s talking. The obliging creator supplies a forbidding, decrepit mansion surrounded by leering trees, prompting an “Oh my golly gosh!” from the startled monster. “Is that too scary? Would you rather it was just a spooky house?” “That sounds better,” says Little Monster, relieved. It’s ideally suited to readers who prefer knowing what’s going to happen in their scary story before it actually happens; Little Monster always says what he needs, and the creator is always willing to make adjustments. Underneath the light chills and thrills is an exploration of setting limits and feeling safe, handled with warmth and humor. Ages 2–5. (July)
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