cover image Monster and Boy (Monster and Boy #1)

Monster and Boy (Monster and Boy #1)

Hannah Barnaby, illus. by Anoosha Syed. Holt, $13.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-250-21783-7

“There’s no such thing as monsters,” a bespectacled boy’s mother tells him before bed. But the antlered creature who has lived under the bed for years knows that’s not true: “he knew the sound of the boy’s voice, and he loved that sound. He knew the smell of the boy’s dirty socks, and he loved that smell.” Emerging from beneath the bed for the first time, the monster panics when the boy opens his mouth to scream—doing “the only thing he could think of,” he swallows the child. At first distressed, the monster manages to cough up the now diminutive boy, and shenanigans ensue: the child is dropped into the toilet, the monster carries him around, and another monsterlike creature is discovered. Barnaby’s (Garcia & Colette Go Exploring) entertaining narration breaks the fourth wall—indicated by teal pages—encouraging readers to take an active part in the story, while Syed’s (I Am Perfectly Designed) bubbly monochromatic illustrations with teal embellishments add whimsy to this amusing story about an unlikely friendship. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Illustrator’s agent: Taylor Martindale Kean, Full Circle Literary. [em](July) [/em]