cover image Go To Sleep, Monster!

Go To Sleep, Monster!

Kevin Cornell. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-234915-6

Cornell (Shark Kiss, Octopus Hug), in his first outing as author, poses an intriguing question for readers: what if the monster under your bed is equally spooked by something under him? George and his no-nonsense sister, Anna, discover that there is, in fact, a whole chain of sleepless monsters in and below their house, all wide awake at the prospect of a scarier monster underneath them. As the late-night search for the source of this insomnia takes George and Anna further and further “under” (under the floor, the room, the house, the ground), Cornell introduces a cast of endearingly sleep-deprived, Muppetlike ghouls in vignettes that are little gems of comic chiaroscuro—think Georges de La Tour with a funny bone. Finally, the ragtag retinue reaches “the center-most center... of the center of the earth,” the lair of an anxious, weary, and sheepish dragon. “But you’re the underest under something someone can be!” Anna says. “What’s left for you to be afraid of?!” The answer—and solution—proves that empathy and bizarro logic are perfectly compatible. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)