Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I will always associate Michael Martchenko's illustrations with Robert Munsch. And so a while ago, when Sophie and the Sea Monster arrived, I automatically shelved it with the other Munsch books in Canadian Picture Books. Until a customer pointed out to me that it seemed to be in the wrong place. Whoops! Sophie and the Sea Monster is in fact by Don Gillmor, you see.

Sophie is a rather timid child. Her biggest fear is that the moon will fall on her house. So when her brother Chester tells her that there is a sea monster under her bed, she believes him. After a couple of hours of screwing up her courage, Sophie finally gets in to bed, and looks under it. There is a sea monster there! And he informs Sophie that, in fact, "there are sea monsters everywhere." To further educate Sophie on sea monsters, this one bursts into song. And what a song it is! I wish I had a sea monster under my bed. It would make nights when I can't get to sleep so much more entertaining!

Anyway, it turns out that the sea monster is even more of a scaredy cat than Sophie, and so she makes it her mission to help the sea monster overcome his fears, which has the pleasant side effect of helping her overcome her own. Eventually, Sophie's sea monster heads back to the sea, and the book ends with a nice jab at older brother Chester.

What I really liked about this book, is the way Sophie and the sea monster's fears are portrayed as silly, but not condescendingly. And I love how Gillmor introduces the idea of familiarity to ease fears. A good story all 'round.

Sophie and the Sea Monster written by Don Gillmor illustrated by Michael Martchenko
ISBN 0439974615
32 pages


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