Monster Friends by Katei Vandorn is a cute story that is clever, and slightly new. However, for the adult it is a familiar story of hiding from your fears. Ages six to young 10 will flip out over the humor and the sweet story. If you know the book Crabapple Trouble, also by Vandorn, there might be a surprise or two for you! And while it is not overly colorful, but it is brightly created. It fits the mood of that section of story. And with minimal but fun and important (such as the speech balloons of the characters), details, everything fits in a neat package.
This book is simple with its character Reggie, a monster in need of a staycation after an incident that happens “off book” and his new friend Emily, a puppy-bunny-shape-shifting monster. In fact, Reggie makes several new creative looking monsters while he spends time at his cousin’s house. We follow him, his neighbors and friends work in the garden, explore the beach, have a party, mail a letter, deliver invitations, and meet a sea serpent (or maybe not, as one of Emily’s sisters says, there are no such things). We learn lessons like telling the truth, that siblings can like each other but they can squabble but are “working it out”, kelp beds might not be the best shortcuts, and friendship can help you out a lot, especially if you are good communicators. And still, it is a just a simple, sweet, fun story to enjoy without worrying about morals or messages.
I am not “jumping up and down” over how fantastic this book is, but it is a comfortable book. And while I know that works best for the older child, all ages can appreciate it. Each chapter is really its own story, making them good stopping points for read aloud. Great for personal, school, and classroom libraries. And if you were not a fan of their first book, that is okay too, as the two stories are actually different.