Bedtime Story: I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll
“Noll turns the tables on monster fears by introducing readers to Ethan, a little boy who can’t fall asleep without the ragged breathing and claw-scratching of his favorite monster, Gabe. But Gabe has left a note that he’s gone fishing, so Ethan knocks on his floor to summon a series of substitute ghoulies. Herbert, a horned green thing in a vest, doesn’t even have claws. And Ralph, a four-eyed, six-armed blob, has claws, but they’re painted and manicured. And Cynthia—well, no hard feelings, but a boy wants a boy monster, not a girl. Noll’s slyly humorous text is a suitably wry counterpoint to McWilliam’s dark-hued, exaggerated paintings of the bobble-headed Ethan and his alternately scary and silly beasts. The entire effort strikes a nice balance between creepy and comforting, but especially endearing is Gabe’s early return home as he huddles beneath the bed like a faithful dog and says, “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to start the evening with an ominous puddle of drool.” That’s friendship for you.”–Daniel Kraus
Waketime Activity: Word Choice
Explore adjectives to describe the monsters in the book: focus on colors, shapes, features, personality, etc. Using great word choice will be a key writing skill in elementary school. Using these words verbally in discussion with a parent builds vocabulary and exposure to rich academic language. Don’t assume a word is too advanced for your child, use it anyway – always be thinking exposure, exposure, exposure! No writing necessary.
EXTRA: Draw/design a monster together! Use pencils, crayons, markers, glitter, pom poms, feathers and yarn. You can go simple or turn this into a full on craft. When your child is finished, discuss this monster creation using fabulous word choice, and don’t forget to model speaking in complete sentences!