I received a free copy of “The Monster Mix-Up” by Victoria L. Johnson from Dorrance Publishing Company. I signed up to for their review team and after getting accepted, they allowed me to choose any book from their store. Since my son doesn’t have nearly enough books (I know sarcasm doesn’t translate well online, but that was an example), and since he’s convinced monsters lurk around every corner, this seemed like a good choice. This review contains spoilers, however since it’s a short children’s book, I don’t think that’s a major issue.
The book arrived lightening fast, Jake and I read it last night. The story begins with two brothers, Stephen and Kevin, goofing around at bedtime. Their mom tells them to be quiet and go to bed. Once they lights go out, the boys start worrying about potential monster invasions, so they set up an elaborate trap. Suddenly, the door opens and framed against the back-lit hallways stands a terrifying figure with a giant head and horns. Fortunately, the trap works and they catch the monster. Unfortunately, the monster happens to be their mom who is wearing a towel and bathrobe. The boys settle down and go to sleep. The next morning, they are confronted by a “real” monster, with a scaly green head. Of course, it’s just mom taking her revenge.
The tale was cute, but at times it seemed the author was trying so hard to make it rhyme that she didn’t really consider the rhythm, so some sentences had an awkward flow. I can’t criticize her for that because I am wretched at rhyming and poetry, and I imagine that has to be one of the hardest things about writing certain kids’ books. The book is based on a true story, Johnson’s own boys pulled the same trick on her and she wrote the book after they went to bed. I thought the ending was funny, however Jake (age 5) said “that’s just mean!” Maybe it is a little mean, especially since the kids were so afraid of monsters, but the children in the story are clearly older than my son (I’d guess around 8 or 9), and they all had a good laugh at the deception.
At 29 pages, the $9 price tag may seem a little high for a paperback book, but keep in mind that Dorrance is a relatively small publisher, and those extra few bucks help support new authors. They also have an e-book option of most of their books for a slightly lower price.
I received a complimentary copy of The Monster Mix-Up as a member of the
Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com
to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.