cover image Bedtime Monsters

Bedtime Monsters

Josh Schneider. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-00270-8

Schneider is on a roll. Following a Geisel Award for Tales for Very Picky Eaters and a hilarious tale of just deserts in The Meanest Birthday Girl, he upends the classic monster-under-the-bed story. During the day, Arnold loves pretending to be a monster, but nighttime is another matter, what with the “terrible toe biter” lurking in his bedroom. “Are you just as scared of me as I am of you?” Arnold asks the large, purple creature with a white athletic sock hanging from a tusk. “No, of course not,” replies the monster, who is actually afraid of the “horrible tooth gnasher,” which is nervous about the “winged fargle,” and so on. Soon, Arnold’s bed is crammed with monsters, and annoyance replaces fear. Schneider expertly builds tension up to the “gotcha” ending, and his illustrations are filled with wildly imaginative perspectives, visual gags, and details, from the imaginary Fifth Avenue that Arnold trashes in the opening scene (a rubber ball stands in for the Guggenheim Museum) to the tiny butterfly wings that hold up the gargantuan winged fargle. Ages 4–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Oct.)