Friday, October 3, 2008

Mondays at Monster School by Ruth Louise Symes, illustrated by Rosie Reeve

Fred, a small monster who looks rather like a fuzzy fox with spikes, is looking forward to going to school for the first time. Until it's actually time to go....when he changes his mind. His parents try to convince him with lists of all the fun things they do at school - mud splashing, howling and growling, etc. Nothing works. Until Ted's mom shows up - Ted doesn't want to go to school either, but Fred convinces him and they set off together. School turns out to be just as fun as their parents said - mud splashing, howling and growling, slime painting and so on. At the end of the day, they love school and can't wait to go back. The picture are cheerful colors and show very un-scary monsters.

I detest books like this. They sentimentalize school - especially a child's first days at school. There's no getting lost, no mean kids, basically no worries after they get over their initial nerves. And school is fun! All their favorite things! Unless, of course, you are a wiggly little kid who doesn't like sitting still for long periods of time, marching in line, constantly being told to be quiet, and being moved from activity to activity when the teacher decrees, rather than when you're finished or have actually learned what you're suppposed to. For some kids, of course, their school experience is good. For others its mediocre. For some kids it's sheer misery.

Which is why I hate sickly sweet picture books like this. Urrgh.

Verdict: Parents, in general, will love this book. I detest sentimentalized stories. If you can stomach yet another sweety-sweety book, go ahead and add it. We give them what we want, not what we think they should want.

ISBN: 978-1842551264; Published August 2007 by Orion (out of print, to my great pleasure); Borrowed from the library

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