Image: A young boy with light skin and black hair sits in an armchair reading a book. Black shadows loom behind him with glowing colorful eyes. Text: "Alfred's Book of Monsters. Sam Streed."

KidLit Book Review: Alfred’s Book of Monsters by Sam Streed


Synopsis

After reading about the slimy Nixie, the angry Black Shuck, and the creepy Lantern Man in his beloved Book of Monsters, Alfred decides to invite the monsters to teatime with his crusty old aunty, who thinks monsters are an improper obsession for a respectable young boy.


Details

  • Title: Alfred’s Book of Monsters
  • Author/Illustrator: Sam Streed
  • Cover Artist: Sam Streed
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge
  • ISBN: 1580898335
  • Publication Date: August 6, 2019
  • For Ages: 3-7
  • Category: Picture Book
  • Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.

I’d like to thank Charlesbridge for providing a copy via Edelweiss+ for review consideration.


Review

Alfred hates having tea with his aunty, because tea parties are perfectly delightful. Alfred hates delightful things. He much prefers nasty, awful, spooky things like monsters. He spends his days poring over a book all about local monsters, until one day when he has a nasty, awful, spooky idea: he decides to liven up teatime (and make it significantly less delightful) by inviting his favorite monsters along.

Image: Two picture book pages. On the left, a young boy with pale skin and black hair reads a book by candlelight and says, "Whoa..." On the right, a woman with pale skin and black hair scowls and holds a teacup. She says, "Alfred! Tea time!"
Image: Two picture book pages. On the left, a young boy with pale skin and black hair reads a book by candlelight and says, “Whoa…” On the right, a woman with pale skin and black hair scowls and holds a teacup. She says, “Alfred! Tea time!”

With apologies to Alfred, author-illustrator Sam Streed’s debut picture book is a delight. His subdued color palette gives the book a chilly, eerie tone that still maintains enough warmth to keep young readers engaged with the sympathetic (if a tad destructive) Alfred and his hilariously stern aunty. Streed provides brilliant pops of color via the monsters’ eyes, giving each Goreyesque creature a humorous but creepy look that perfectly complements this simple, clever story about a boy determined to bring some horror into his everyday life.

Image: A young boy's pale hands hold open a tattered book that shows pictures and includes a description of the Black Shuck, a dog-like creature with one glowing red eye.
Image: A young boy’s pale hands hold open a tattered book that shows pictures and includes a description of the Black Shuck, a dog-like creature with one glowing red eye.

Alfred’s Book of Monsters is a mischievous ode to the kids who prefer haunted graveyards to polite tea parties. (Though, as Alfred discovers, there’s no reason you can’t love both!) Equal parts funny and eerie, this compulsively re-readable gothic picture book serves as a wonderful way to introduce young readers to the nasty, awful, spooky delights of horror literature.


Rating

That’s one tea party I’d love to attend. I give this book 4 out of 5 coffins.

4 Coffins


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