Author: Eleanor Taylor
Genre: Children’s Picture Books
February 1st was the “practice run” and kick off for a weekly gathering at Half Price Books in Humble, a gathering of infants to six year olds for story time. An informal endeavor, I chose a handful of books to read off the cuff and my niece, age eleven, alternated reading aloud with me from her own selections. We tried to pick a little bit of something for everyone, as we had twelve kids there of all ages, both boys and girls. We read from puppet board books, several picture books, a few shiny foil books – but the greatest success was My Friend the Monster by Eleanor Taylor.
My Friend the Monster is the story of a little boy (fox, actually) who moves to a new house and discovers a monster living under his bed. The monster, a large one eyed fuzzy creature is a big old scaredy-cat, and it’s up to Louis the child fox to teach him to be brave and confident.
The pictures are detailed and remind me of something from Highlights for Kids magazine (ie: Richard Scarry). Although the kids were well behaved and sat for all the stories, this one in particular had them leaning in to see the pictures, touching my knee to get a closer look. The story kept them completely riveted and entertained, with only one interruption from a small girl who asked, “Why does the Monster only have one eye?” To which I replied, “Because he’s a monster with one eye. I’m sorry I don’t have a better explanation than that.” She just nodded her head and we continued on with the adventure of Louis and his Monster.
I had flipped through this particular book the day before when I visited the store to get a feel for which books I might choose and make sure my daughter, only 15 months, would be familiar enough to follow directions the next day. Ironically, the page I thought would give me the most trouble while reading to the kiddos was the page that was the biggest success for the entire reading. It was the page where Louis takes Monster to the park for the first time and shows everyone the way… the sentences dance in circles around various images of Louis and his monster along the path. I thought the children would get lost, not being able to see the pictures well enough; they might start to fidget or look away and forget what was happening in the story. Instead, this was the moment I found them leaning in the most, nearly crawling into the rocking chair with me to see Monster and Louis on their merry adventure.
Of course, this convinced me that I had to have this book for Ayla, so as soon as story time was over, I bought a copy. If you’re a book toting mom, I highly recommend heading to the Half Price Books nearest you and grabbing up a copy if you can get your hands on it!
Also, if you’re in the Woodlands/Humble/Atascocita/Kingwood area and you have small children during the day, feel free to come to the Humble Half Price Books at 10:30 am on Wednesdays. I’ll be reading a few books every week as long as we can keep the children sitting (mostly) on their bottoms with bookstore level voices. I hope to make many new, little friends, and hope that all our Monsters can be as pleasant as Louis’.