cover image Jack and the Monster

Jack and the Monster

Richard Graham. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $13.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-395-49680-0

A monster (actually, a new baby) has arrived at Jack's house--a monster who is noisy at night, smells bad and makes incredible messes. The thing that disturbs Jack the most (besides being stuck with the monster for good) is that his parents are enchanted by it and can't seem to pay it enough attention, despite the monster's shortcomings. Even friends and relatives ask to see it and bring it presents. Jack can't help but wonder why people would pay so much attention to a silly monster instead of to him or to his older brother, Henry. This story of sibling rivalry is amusingly told, and deals realistically and fairly with what can be a child's worst fears come true. Jack's frustrations are never minimized--having a baby in the house is hard on a child's toys and in this case, on his sense of well-being. As the story progresses the monster-baby redeems himself by becoming a playmate and Jack begins to see some value in having a baby brother around. The soothing watercolor illustrations are rendered in serenely cool hues; they humorously and pointedly depict some of the less-than-ideal aspects of family life. Ages 4-8. (June)