If you were following along last spring when I wrote this post, or even a few weeks ago and looked closely through my list of our favorite Halloween-y books, then you know our girls absolutely love the “Monster” series written by Amanda Noll and illustrated by Howard McWilliam! A beloved babysitter gave the girls the first book in the series, I Need My Monster, for Christmas three years ago, and my grandmother gave our younger daughter the second book, Hey, That’s My Monster! for Christmas last year. Whenever these two books are in our book rotation, they are read every single day. Every single day. So, when Flashlight Press told me a third book is set to release November 1, 2019, I knew we needed that one too! After all, How I Met My Monster is the story of the beginning of Gabe and Ethan’s friendship — we needed to know how it all started!
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In How I Met My Monster, Noll and McWilliam partner again to bring us back to the beginning, when Ethan is a toddler having trouble staying in bed to sleep at night. One night, while he’s looking for toys to play with, he finds a note about a “monster test” happening in his room that night. He assumes his parents are trying to trick him into staying in bed… Until the monsters arrive! Fear doesn’t enter Ethan’s mind, however, likely because these monsters aren’t the least bit scary. Rather, they’re pretty humorous. I mean, who would be scared of a monster who tries to roar and instead lets out a “tiny blurp!”
I love the action in each page and how Noll and McWilliam vary the layouts to keep attention going. I love how we see Gabe’s personality grow (as well as his body), and how Gabe’s personality consistently shows in each book. As a series, I appreciate how Noll has used a lot of the same verbage and imagery throughout the books. Though these are stories about monsters, we are comforted by the refrains that thread their way through all three (such as Ethan giggling, “No other monster can scare me like you!”).
As with the other books in the series, McWilliam’s illustrations are absolutely delightful. They’re richly colored and full of details that children love, such as clutter, toys, and emotion. And check out the endpapers! One of our favorite games to play is “Which monster do you want to be friends with today?” where we pore over the endpapers, discuss what’s appealing about various monsters, and choose one to be friends with. And we do this almost every time we read one of these “Monster” books — it never gets old, as McWilliam has drawn so many delightful monsters!
One of the most important things to know about the books in this series is that they are amazing read alouds! Are you someone who enjoys doing different voices when you read stories out loud? I enjoy it and my husband is ridiculously good at it, so we have a lot of fun getting into character with these. My girls will even correct our voices if we read the characters in a way that doesn’t match what they expect to hear or think they should sound like!
Full disclosure, if the idea of of monsters under his bed scares your child, then this may not be the series for him. Our girls have always found these books funny, and these monsters aren’t particularly scary, but you know what might be a trigger for your child better than I do!
Have you read these yet? Though this one doesn’t release till after Halloween and the whole series is great for year-round enjoyment, October is the perfect time to crack these open and get in the Halloween-y mood!