Night after night, neighborhood monsters creep into Winifred Schnitzel’s room trying to scare her. Some growl; some belch. Some are slimy, some hairy. Good thing Winifred thinks monsters are cute! Still, all of their monster mayhem is keeping Winifred awake, and that simply won’t do. But how will Winifred turn the tables and scare her monsters away?
- Title: Monster Trouble!
- Author: Lane Fredrickson
- Illustrator: Michael Robertson
- Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
- ISBN: 1454913452
- Publication Date: September 1, 2015
- For Ages: 4-8
- Category: Picture Book
- Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.
Winifred Schnitzel is a funny, imaginative, extraordinary little girl. She’s strong and smart and brave and doesn’t care what society (or any monster) thinks she’s supposed to do or be — she’s not afraid of horror movies, and she’s just as comfortable wielding a sword while playing pirate as she is wearing a tutu during ballet class. She’s also a budding engineer — when monsters start keeping her up at night, she orders a book called Monsters Beware! to help her booby trap her room, but she finds the book lacking and devises an ingenious (and hilarious) booby trap of her own called the “Prickly Bum Chair.”
Unfortunately, the booby traps don’t work. One night while dreaming of puppies, though, Winifred stumbles upon the monsters’ one weakness: they hate kissing. So she puckers up and sends the monsters packing, and she finally gets a well-earned good night’s sleep.
Winifred is a wonderful protagonist — it’s exciting to see a Black girl involved in ballet, a field mostly filled with white girls, and STEM, a field that is predominantly white and predominantly male. It’s also refreshing to see a girl engaging in stereotypical masculine play and being fearless, as she dresses up like a pirate and watches werewolf movies.
That bravery extends to the monsters that show up in her room every night. She’s not afraid of them at all; in fact, she finds them cute. And with good reason: author Lane Fredrickson suggests that they would rather have parties than scare kids, as the monsters play around with silly string and call in deli orders, and Michael Robertson’s art — which resembles Monsters, Inc. with a touch of Where the Wild Things Are — shows that all they really want to do is have a neon wild rumpus.
Monster Trouble! is a funny, sweet book that kids will want to read over and over again, and its heroine is an important representation of a Black girl defying gender and racial expectations. Winifred’s clever attempts to rid herself of the monsters are a lot of fun, and Robertson’s colorful art is engaging and hilarious. Fredrickson’s bouncing rhymes are sure to keep kids entertained and give storytime readers plenty of opportunities to play around with funny voices. The message that monsters are nothing to be afraid of is perfect for younger kids, especially at bedtime. This book is quick and compulsively re-readable, so be ready for a frequent refrain of “AGAIN! AGAIN!” from your own little monsters.
Winifred is going to be president one day. I give this book 4 out of 5 coffins.