Monster’s First Day of School

Holt. (Monster and Boy: Bk. 2). Mar. 2021. 144p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781250217851.
Gr 1-3–In this second entry in this early chapter book series, the lovable monster that lives under Boy’s bed is lonely. Where does Boy go so often for so much of the day? When he hears about school, Monster decides that he, too, wants to go; he hates being alone and has discovered that he likes to learn thanks to Boy’s many books, to which he frequently refers. The two need to hatch a plan to shrink Monster—just as Boy shrinks in the first book—so that he can fit in a backpack. Some ingenuity, a pair of binoculars, and a touch of Monster magic accomplish this task. Though he is discovered on the school bus, he is mistaken for a stuffed animal for show-and-tell. School is loud and exhausting; in short, Monster loves it! He even helps solve the case of the missing hedgehog. Later at home, he decides to stay small for a while…under the bed is so huge, and now he can snuggle with Boy in his bed. While many may be familiar with the terms nocturnal and diurnal, Monster is crepuscular—he is awake at the beginning and end of each day to accommodate Boy’s schedule. Five of the 14 chapters appear on red paper and allow the narrator to step out of the story to address readers directly. Monster is a benevolent-looking large, round creature with a mop of hair on his head and two antlers. Boy has similar hair, light brown skin, and large round glasses.
VERDICT Science, humor, and copious pen-and-ink cartoon illustrations make this a perfect choice for early chapter book readers.

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