cover image Monster vs. Boy

Monster vs. Boy

Karen Krossing. Charlesbridge, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-6235-4356-3

The question of what does and doesn’t make a monster is front and center in this dark yet earnest tale by Krossing (One Tiny Bubble). Eleven-year-old Dawz and his younger sister Jayla live with their uncle in Morsh, a town that was once purportedly the home of monsters, which haven’t been sighted in years—except by Dawz. Though no one else can see or hear it, he knows that within his closet dwells a small monster with gray fur and purple scales named Mim, who is not fond of the boy who lives outside her abode. But Mim develops an appreciation for Dawz and his family when she overhears them reading aloud from books. Their tentative coexistence is upended when Mim—who grows physically larger and exponentially more curious by the day—emerges from the closet on a mission to uncover the magic of books. Krossing employs an omniscient third-person perspective to offer insight into both Mim’s and Dawz’s innermost thoughts. With realistically limned characters, the author explores pensive themes surrounding acceptance of oneself and of others to deliver a sensitive rumination on personhood and kindness. Context clues imply racial diversity among the human characters. Ages 10–up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (July)