Auch's (The Easter Egg Farm; Dumbstruck) somewhat offbeat tale blends two common picture-book themes: apprehension about a new sibling and fear of nighttime beasties. Monsters invade Rodney's bedroom every night, and nothing-neither strands of colored lights and lanterns nor the smell of dead catfish and old sneakers-can ward them off. But when Mommy announces that she is going to bring home a baby brother for Rodney, he considers that a monster might be scared away from a room with two kids in it. Later, at a family wedding, Rodney's relatives muse about the baby (Will it have Grandpa's Groucho-like nose or Aunt Velma's chicken legs? Will it grow like a weed like cousin Ernie?), and the suggestible child conjures up a bizarre image of his future brother. His fears are quashed when the newborn looks just like him-and even manages to scare off the monsters with his wails. Though the story is encouraging, Auch's stylized, hyperbolic art-featuring electric colors and characters with elongated faces and bulging eyes-may be offputting to some. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
PreS-K-A familiar premise receives fresh treatment in this picture book that brings together two favorite themes: fear of monsters and a new baby. To repel the monsters, Rodney and his parents try turning on all the lights (doesn't work-the monster wears sunglasses) and keeping smelly objects in his bed (doesn't work-the monster wears a clothespin on his nose). Then, the story is seemingly diverted by Mom's pregnancy and Aunt Celeste's wedding. At the reception, the relatives wonder who the new baby will look like: will it have Grandma's big blue eyes? Grandpa's distinguished nose? Aunt Velma's scrawny chicken legs? With each new image, Rodney's vision of the baby gets weirder and weirder, until all he's afraid of is ``BEING ALONE IN HIS ROOM IN THE DARK WITH THE BABY!'' When the infant arrives, Rodney is relieved that it looks like him, only smaller, and its screams keep the monsters out of the room for good. Auch has a great sense of the ridiculous, and also the rare ability to tell a fairly eventful story; quite a lot happens, yet it should hold even a group of three-year-olds. The bug-eyed characters, the day-glo colors, and the comic exaggeration all enhance the humor of the text. With all the earnest books around on these two topics, it's refreshing to give children the chance to chase away fear and anxiety with a good laugh. A fun book with lots of child appeal.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Janice Del Negro
Rodney has a problem. Every night a monster creeps into his room and keeps him awake. He tries everything to chase the monster away--extra lights, stinky cheese--but nothing works. When a baby brother, Sidney, arrives to share his room, Rodney stands guard with 20a baseball bat. But baby Sidney has 20a secret weapon: "He sounded like a screech owl, a police-car siren, and a fire alarm all rolled into one . . . . No monster would dare come near his room with Sidney around." The combination of monster story and sibling rivalry tale is an unusual one, but Auch manages it with imagination 20and verve. She brings Rodney's fears and actions to flashy, big-eyed life in 20brilliant neon colors and somehow makes the story fun while touching on all the appropriate developmental issues.