Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's Basbusa reading?

We've never really done monster books or dinosaur stories, since Basbusa has always been more attracted to the talking-animals and magic-worlds genres :) But this week, all of a sudden, two monster books made her list of favories! I Need My Monster is about a boy named Ethan whose under-the-bed monster, Gabe, goes away on a fishing trip. Ethan is most disconcerted. How can he possibly fall asleep "without Gabe's familiar scary noises and his spooky green ooze?" So he knocks on the floorboards to call up a temporary replacement. Four monsters arrive in quick succession to fill the post, but none of them fulfill Ethan's criteria, for various funny reasons. I think what attracted Basbusa to this book was the tension between scariness and humor, and between nervousness and affection. Are the monsters really scary, since Ethan clearly loves the truly menacing Gabe? I think Basbusa could also identify with Ethan's need for familiar routines, even if it was the reassuring consistency of a familiar scariness! I also liked the rich language used to describe the monsters, so this book was definitely a hit with both of us.

I chose Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie because we had accidentally found and enjoyed Born to Read, by the same author. It's a quick, funny read, about a hospitable monster who invites his eleventeen disgusting-est friends and relations over for a pie filled with flies. But since he unfortunately forgot to bake the pie, the flies take off, and the pie zooms out the window. It's light, not scary at all, and told in rhyme, so Basbusa often picked it off the shelf for a quick read.

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox was (yet another) great recommendation from Amy, whose fantastic description I won't try to emulate. Suffice it to say that Basbusa loved it as much as Amy's daughters did.

Our most recently-finished chapter book (as opposed to the three which are currently in progress) was A Toad for Tuesday, which both Basbusa and I enjoyed. The story sounds pretty mundane when I try to sum it up - an owl catches a toad, but in the end they become friends and the toad doesn't get eaten - but actually there were enough little quirks and twists in the plot to make it an engaging tale. Plus, both the owl and the toad had very detailed and convincing little personalities, which made it all the more interesting to follow their adventures.

One other thing I really liked about this book was the descriptive language it used. Basbusa is definitely most interested in plot at this point, and doesn't enjoy sitting through long descriptive passages while waiting for something else to happen (probably one of the reasons why she enjoys the Boxcar Children so much). But I do want to expose her to the beauty of language along the way, and this book had a perfect mix of action sprinkled with description. For example, as Warton the toad first leaves his cosy hibernation to set out on his adventure: "Warton started up through the long tunnel that led up to the top of the old stump they lived under. When he stepped out, he was dazzled. The brilliant snow glistened and glittered, and the deep blue sky was filled with puffy white clouds that drifted over the tall evergreens. Snowbirds twittered gaily as they hopped from branch to branch." And then off he went on his skis, and promptly got them tangled up and fell over, much to Basbusa's entertainment.

Just one warning with this one, though - it looks like a chapter book, and it feels like a chapter book, but there are actually no chapters! It's just one long story from beginning to end. I had read about forty pages of "just one chapter before bedtime!" before I figured this out :)

Linking up with What My Child is Reading and Read-Aloud Thursday.


  1. Oh, "I Need My Monster" sounds absolutely adorable! What a creative story line. Definitely adding to my list along with "Brownie Groundhog".

  2. I have reviewed I Need My Monster and Thelonius too. I especially loved I Need My Monster. Good suggestions! Thanks.

  3. I keep seeing I Need My Monster all over the place. It looks like quite the book.

  4. I'm with Ticia, I've seen "I Need My Monster" reviewed a few times now - and need to remember to put it on our library list! Thanks for the reminder :)

  5. We read I Need My Monster and overall daughter loved it. The last chapter book (well, "not-quite-chapter-book" sounds very engaging - I'll be looking for it. Thanks for joining WMCIR!

  6. A Toad for Tuesday sounds so fun.