cover image If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed

If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed

Denise Vega, illus. by Zachariah OHora. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-553-49655-0

Vega’s spoof of parenting manuals stars a girl in pink pajamas and her monster, a yeti-style hulk with sherbet-striped fur. When it comes to monster bedtimes, “Don’t ask your parents to help you,” the narrator cautions. “They know a lot about putting kids to bed, but nothing about putting monsters to bed.” OHora’s (The Not So Quiet Library) thick, haphazard black lines are almost intrinsically funny. The girl’s father is so intimidated by the challenges of putting a monster to bed that he jumps right into his wife’s arms. (They’re a biracial couple, and the pajama-clad girl has brown skin.) The girl’s successful formula follows: “Step 1: Pour your monster a nice big glass of calming, crunchy, oozy bug juice,” followed by an ice-cold bath and a terrifying story. Vega (Grandmother, Have the Angels Come?) makes fine use of tried-and-true comic elements: the child who dominates an enormous beast, gross-out language (burps, smelly underwear), and the way her monster loves everything human children hate. Readers will be too busy giggling to go to sleep. Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Lara Perkins, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary. (Mar.) [/em]