Have you got monsters-in-training? I have! The thing about ‘hoomum’*monsters is that they might look angelic but don’t be fooled! Beneath that wide-eyed, sweet-smiling exterior is a tantrum of monstrous proportions ready to EXPLODE! Know what I mean? (*hoomum, by the way, is Gormy Ruckle’s word for humans in Monster Mayhem by Guy Bass)
Maybe that’s why writers and illustrators seem to love creating stories about monsters? Aren’t we all capable, occasionally, of turning into little monsters? I know I can come close during that hour between 7.30 am and 8.30 am on a weekday morning just before school.
Or maybe it’s because writers can really let their imaginations run wild and the results are, well, monstrous – creatures covered in “terrible tusks and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in [their] terrible jaws”, (The Gruffalo, see below), that can swallow five whole puppy pancakes in one gulp (Monster Mayhem, see below).
Anyway, here are our favourite books about monsters to read to your little monsters, I mean angels.
Should you wish to purchase any of these books simply click on the book image and you will go through to the Babbleabout/Amazon children’s bookstore.
Monster Mayhem by Guy Bass Warning to little girls of a sensitive nature! Gormy Ruckles, our little monster hero, eats kittens on toast and whole puppy pancakes. (Boys will love this!) Gormy Ruckles is a monster in training. He is adorable but strong-willed, prone to outbreaks of stomping (sound familiar?) and is desperate to be a big monster like his dad. He lives with his mum, dad and best friend (actually, his only friend) Mike the Scuttybug on Peatree Hill, which lies through the thick ring of trees and out of sight of ‘hoomums’. Incidentally, Mike the Scuttybug is obsessed with poo, just so that you know. Anyway, Monster Mayhem contains three hilarious tales of Gormy’s adventures as he learns to become a real monster and all the while his mum and dad can only look on and suggest he take another look at his book of How to be a Better Monster. In the first adventure Gormy learns lesson six hundred and eleventy-seven – the hard way! That monsters can’t eat fish – watch out for monster-sized burps and big, green clouds of gut-gas of truly epic proportions! In his second adventure, Gormy gets to take part in his first ever junior monster contest – with hilarious results! But at least he gets to find out who his true monster friends are! Finally, will Gormy’s overprotective dad let him out of his clasp for a monster-sized adventure with his big Uncle Kruckles whose only rule in life seems to be who needs learning when you can be smashing, monstering and good old-fashioned hoomum scaring? But then Uncle Kruckles hasn’t bargained for … the Gloam! Will Gormy remember all his lessons from How to be a Better Monster and save the day? “Lesson five hundred and fivety-five – Expect the Unexpected!” Age 6+
Guy Bass is an award winning author of a Blue Peter Most Fun Story with Pictures Book Award (2010) and I can understand why. His Monster Mayhem book is hilariously funny – Gormy Ruckles is both repulsive and adorable. How can that be? Well, he is just another monster in training, much like my own!
Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie by Joel Stewart Is it possible for a boy to be friends with a monster? Especially if that monster is hungry… and bored! Dexter Bexley, though, is up to the task. But how long can his quick-thinking keep him from being the Big Blue Beastie’s next snack. Long enough, perhaps, for the monster to see Dexter as something more – a friend. This is a funny and tender book about friendship and Stewart’s retro illustrations are delightful. Age 5+
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler The Gruffalo has got to be one of the most famous monsters of them all! Right from the opening lines, readers and listeners will be drawn along with mouse as he takes a stroll through the deep dark wood. Julia Donaldson’s rhythmical text is perfect for reading aloud and will actively encourage the youngest of listeners to join in with the adventure. Meeting fox, owl and snake along the way, Mouse shows that it is quick thinking (rather than size or strength) that stops him becoming the next tasty snack. And in any case “there’s no such thing as a gruffal…oh!” “Oh help! Oh no! It’s a gruffalo!” But clever little mouse even manages to fool the Gruffalo into believing that he, mouse, is the scariest creature in the wood! Well done little mouse. Age 2+
Monster Day at Work by Sarah Dyer It’s kids-at-work day and little monster gets to spend a day at the office with Dad. He gets to navigate the rush hour, sit in on a very important business meeting, do some work on the computer (“That is very easy – I get a much higher score than Dad”), eat lunch in the staff canteen, colour in some charts and even do some exercise in the gym after work. Nothing to it! “I don’t know why Dad complains so much…” And apparently Mum has it easy at home too! A hilarious and very innocent child’s eye view of the world of work and the world of looking after the home. Age 3+