By Steve Cox
Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., $12.99, 22 pages
Sam and his sister Amy have invited their best pals over for a campout in the backyard. How exciting! The moon is out and the tents are ready. Sam is convinced that there is a monster in the yard, but his friends and sister don’t believe him. They are convinced monsters don’t exist. What do you think? Before you make up your mind, you must read Is That You, Monster? by Steve Cox. This fun book takes readers on a wild adventure as Sam and his friends search for a real, live monster!
In each scene there is a touch-and-feel pocket that you can slide your hand inside – but only if you are very brave! (Parents – think back to the Halloween game where you stuck your hand inside covered boxes filled with different items. Frozen peeled grapes were supposed to be eyeballs, cold cooked noodles were brains and little hot dogs were fingers). Go with Sam inside the garage to retrieve a flashlight. Will you follow Sam’s lead and feel the monster’s drool? (A sticky piece of paper provides the effect of monster slobber). Will you put your hand in the tent to feel the monster’s hairy back? (Furry material creates this effect). Visit the well to inspect the monster’s stubby tail, the treehouse to check out the monster’s toenails and the boathouse to inspect the monster’s horns. What will Sam ultimately find in the boathouse? Spoiler alert for parents – prepare young kids or easily frightened little ones. A large, scary 3D monster pops out towards readers on the last page. Turns out Sam was right!
The book’s only negative feature is that the text’s black font fades into the dark backgrounds. It makes it extra difficult to make out the words, especially if parents and kids are reading the book at night with less light.
Little readers will enjoy searching each scene for the dangling black spider – he is spying on the kids, watching them hunt for the monster. Steve Cox’ illustrations are fun, spooky and really set the mood for this monster of a tale!
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin