Thursday 9 July 2015

'Little Monster Did It'

A new baby and a little monster under one roof can mean only one thing- trouble!

Book Details

Author/Illustrator: Helen Cooper

First published in 1995, this edition 2007 by Picture Corgi Books (library copy)

Reviewed copy from my personal library

Book Description:
There's a new baby brother in Amy's house....and that new cuddly toy her parents gave her just can't keep himself from being naughty!

This  story beautifully illustrates how a new baby may result in behaviour changes for older children and/or their teddies!

Amy, the narrator describes stinky nappies, baby wailing, restless nights and busy parents. Neither she, nor Little Monster is happy….and we see both getting up to plenty of mischief! Amy's excuse? -'Little Monster Did it'  (every...single...time)

Disillusioned with this wailing, pooping, time-consuming sibling, she wonders aloud if the baby could be given back......

Mum then asks Amy what might baby do all on his own?Now that's a serious question and Amy  starts to wonder....... 
Deep in thought, she visualises her little brother alone on a raft, drifting away and exposed to danger. Oh the guilt she suddenly feels! 

On reflection, Amy realises that she really does care for this little man and she discovers that playing with him and reading stories is fun. But, oh dear, jealousy can linger and Little Monster has one more episode of naughtiness, deciding to create some chaos in the kitchen. FED UP with his shenanigans, Mum and Dad finally  say 'Little Monster has to go…..Right Now!’

There's only one thing for it- HIDE!!

We see Amy and Little Monster scurrying through the house, until they find the best place of all- in the cot with baby (now that's clever- Bravo Amy! Or- probably Monster.)  With baby happily playing with his cute new toy-how could Mum and Dad be so cruel as to take Little Monster away? Even better- Amy gets brownie points for 'sharing'

 At last, Amy's good behaviour is rewarded with a story and a cuddle with Mum and Dad. Meanwhile... upstairs, we see that crafty look on Little Monster's face, as he and  baby are playing with crayons. Oh dear....he really is a Little Monster.

Why I like this book:
While it’s been 20 years since it’s first publication, the story line in 'Little Monster’ is a timeless one. The illustrations are a delight – the striking resemblance between Amy, Mum & her little brother, the frazzled and stressed faces of Mum and Dad, the wailing baby faces and the leering expressions of Amy or Little Monster when naughty stuff is going on. Helen Cooper captures it all- we can see the worried, almost guilty expression of Amy when she visualises her brother all alone, and the unsure face of baby as he drifts away on a floating raft, dressed just in his nappy.

The child reader sees that Little Monster certainly is the leader in all this naughty business…he breaks the video player* , overflows the bathroom, opens the hot-water-bottle wetting the bed etc. At the same time, Amy is always there with him, either doing the same thing, or watching close by……maybe they are equal partners in crime?!

A funny story, with a sweet ending and a book that comes full circle- Amy feels upset about changes at home, resents her little brother, but comes to love him and enjoy him in the end. And , the sight of baby snuggled with Little Monster, results in Amy getting some much wanted Mummy & Daddy time.

This is a lovely story to read to a child when a new sibling has arrived at home- they will relate to much of the general activities- busy parents, crying baby, sleepless nights. More importantly, in my opinion, its a lovely book for a parent to read at this same time- it can give a parent a chance to reflect on how family change can impact on a young child, and can be a subtle reminder that it’s definitely worth investing in together time with older siblings!

*Okay, the 20 years show just a little…

I think that overall, the illustrations and story line are pretty much timeless, but  your child may ask you about the video/vcr!

And they may wonder about the very large rectangular black object in the kitchen scene…

It’s probably one of these…..
Happy reading! 

Missus B

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Helen Cooper writes about ‘Little Monster Did It’

A lovely inside scoop from Helen Cooper- read how she planned the writing and illustrating of this delightful story HERE

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