Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review: “A Monster Wrote Me a Letter” by Nick Bland

When my daughter brought this book home from the school library, I couldn't wait to read it with her. I was immediately captivated by the illustrations - elegant black and white pencil drawings, cleverly accented with splashes of colour throughout.

The story revolves around a boy who unexpectedly receives a letter from a monster. In the letter, the monster invites himself over to the boy’s house to play. Despite his concerns about the consequences of welcoming a monster into his home, the boy does not want to cause offense, and hence writes back to the monster to confirm the dreaded arrangement. The boy’s letter is equally surprising to the monster (whose original letter was actually intended for his cousin, a monster who lives under the boy’s bed). Both monster and child anxiously prepare for the rendezvous, each coming up with ways that they think will help them live up to each other’s expectations; the boy tries to add some gross factor to himself and his home, while the monster is particularly concerned with his grooming…

My fingernails will need a file. I haven't bathed in quite a while. I'll take a bath. I'll learn to smile. I'll comb my hair in ‘people’ style.
- (The accompanying illustration of the monster with impossibly coiffed hair is hilarious!)

Of course when the day of the monster’s visit arrives, both characters realise that their concerns were unfounded and a friendship is born.

Written in beautifully rhythmic rhymes, the story is told in first person, alternating between the boy and monster’s point of view. A Monster Wrote Me a Letter is a charming tale that I would be happy to read again and again!

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