The Monster Who Ate Darkness

Overview

Best-selling Taiwanese illustrator Jimmy Liao teams up with renowned British author Joyce Dunbar to present a fantastical, heartwarming tale.

Why can’t Jo-Jo go to sleep? He doesn''t like the darkness under the bed — a monster might be hiding there. And one is! It's a tiny speck of a monster with a huge appetite for darkness, gobbling it up under the bed, in every nook and cranny, and in the wide world outside, growing bigger with every bite. Soon there is no darkness left ...

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Overview

Best-selling Taiwanese illustrator Jimmy Liao teams up with renowned British author Joyce Dunbar to present a fantastical, heartwarming tale.

Why can’t Jo-Jo go to sleep? He doesn''t like the darkness under the bed — a monster might be hiding there. And one is! It's a tiny speck of a monster with a huge appetite for darkness, gobbling it up under the bed, in every nook and cranny, and in the wide world outside, growing bigger with every bite. Soon there is no darkness left anywhere, from the earth to the stars. All the world is light, but the monster still has an empty feeling inside. Only a sleepless boy will help him be fulfilled at last.

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Editorial Reviews

Leonard S. Marcus
…preschoolers have not lacked for picture books to help them face down their fears. The trick for authors has been to find new wrinkles to explore in the well-worn material. In The Monster Who Ate Darkness, Joyce Dunbar does just that by recasting the hidden monster of her story as a kind of childlike magical helper…The story unfolds like a dream in which the monster's appetite is shown to be without bounds…Jimmy Liao, a Taiwanese illustrator, charts the course of this journey in crisp, bright, digitally enhanced pen-and-watercolor graphics.
—The New York Times
Children's Literature - Sara Lorimer
Jo-Jo, a young boy, cannot sleep. "He didn't like the darkness under the bed. He thought a monster might be hiding there." Well, he was right—there was a monster there, a very small (and sort of cute) monster. The monster was hungry. "He nibbled at a wooly slipper under the bed. Ugh! Horrible!" The tin toy car hurts his gums. But then the monster spots a box with a tiny hole in it. Peeping in, he sees "that it was full of darkness." The monster sucks all the darkness out of the box and eats it up. Delicious! The monster has grown a little, but he is still hungry. He eats all the darkness from under the bed, then the darkness in the folds of the curtains, and then all the darkness from other houses' cellars and attics and chimneys. "He found new and exciting ways to eat darkness. He liked darkness spread on burnt toast. He liked darkness sandwiches." Eventually the monster eats all the darkness in the world, and then "I'm sorry to say that he ate ALL THE DARKNESS OF THE NIGHT!" The owls stop waking up, fireflies do not bother to go out, and "cats' eyes no longer shone, so the cats lost a lot of their glamour." The monster is huge now—and sad. From far away he hears Jo-Jo crying, because he cannot get to sleep in all the light. The monster creeps back into Jo-Jo's room, picks Jo-Jo up (this picture is a little scary)… and then rocks him to sleep as he sings him a darkness lullaby. Jo-Jo falls asleep, and so does the now-happy monster. As the monster sleeps, the darkness seeps out of him and returns to where it belongs. The monster goes back to being "a small, happy speck, fast asleep in the arms of a boy!" The full-color ink and watercolor illustrations are wonderful: adorablebut not cutesy, and "eating darkness" is shown perfectly. The book is a little suspenseful, but the happy ending makes everything fine. It would be a great book for any child who is not happy about going to bed in the dark, or to read just for entertainment. Reviewer: Sara Lorimer
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

Under Jo-Jo's bed lurks a "tiny speck of a monster" with a "big empty feeling." This endearingly unscary creature discovers a taste for darkness and eats up even the dimmest corners of the room. Growing bigger with each feast, he devours the darkness in attics and chimneys before moving on to caves and volcanoes. When the creature stops his feeding frenzy, he realizes that his insatiable hunger has created a "lonely planet" with "no shadows and hardly any dreams." Jo-Jo, who is normally afraid of the dark, can't fall asleep in the endless daylight. As the compassionate monster cradles the little boy in his arms and soothes him with a lullaby, the evening shades return. Liao's digitally enhanced pen and watercolor illustrations humorously capture the mayhem caused by lack of darkness, such as owls falling out of treetops and bats hanging right side up. A clever twist on a perennial bedtime theme.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763638597
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/2008
  • Pages: 56
  • Sales rank: 1,311,937
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Dunbar is the author of many books for children, including TELL ME SOMETHING HAPPY BEFORE I SLEEP, a bestseller, and SHOE BABY, illustrated by her daughter, Polly Dunbar. Joyce Dunbar lives in England.

Jimmy Liao is an award-winning Taiwanese illustrator who has generated a devoted following in his home country for his wonderfully original drawings. He has written and illustrated some twenty-seven books which have sold more than five million copies.

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