I Want To Be A Monster When I Grow Up by M.T. Weber
Pint Bottle Press, 2016
Available: Paperback, Kindle edition
Sometimes a book comes along that really hits the mark. In my family, this picture book did exactly that, just as soon as I took it out of the box and read through it for the first time. My initial impression was that the art had an inexpert look, and the font looked like it had been printed on a dot matrix printer– a little primitive for today (a second look made me realize that the font size and darkness made the simple text much more readable than many other picture books I’ve seen, and the monsters are lovingly depicted with bright colors that make them stand out from the page). Once I started reading, though, it melted something inside me.
I Want To Be A Monster When I Grow Up is a gently affectionate, funny, and loving portrait of the relationship between Hudson, a monster-loving kid and his mother. Hudson’s joy and excitement about monsters is an accurate picture of a little boy who really loves them, and his mother, obviously a savvy mom who enjoys sharing her own love of scary stories, is able to direct his enthusiasm into positive behavior and life choices (like eating vegetables, sharing, and brushing teeth). As a mom who loves scary stories and reading aloud, and has a monster-loving 11 year old who is “too cool” to have Mom read aloud to him anymore, this couldn’t have done a better job of catching me and making me remember what it’s like to have that time of reading aloud with an excited little kid with a love of learning, and his contagious excitement of discovering for the first time something you love and want to share. I had to take it up to my own monster kid, who was already in bed, and read it to him right away. And he listened, and smiled, and I saw a little of that little boy enthusiasm again as he snuggled up to me and gave me a hug while I read aloud to him for the first time in a long time.
If you or your kids think that there is a stage where they outgrow picture books, or you reading aloud to them, I’m happy to tell you that you are wrong. There is always a time for that. Reading aloud brings us closer together, and I Want To Be A Monster When I Grow Up is a book that inspires this. For any monster-loving mom who is raising a Monster Kid, or any Monster Kid with a monster-loving mom, regardless of age, you couldn’t choose a better book. Recommended.
Reviewed by Kirsten Kowalewski