By Leslie Lindsay
(**See end of post for give-a-way information)
(This contest is now closed, 8.21.12)
What kid doesn’t fear the proverbial monster-under-the-bed? What parent hasn’t had to deal with that child who is just sure the monster slithered underneath the bed or into the closet the moment mom and dad pop in to investigate? That’s right: nearly all of us.
For Sharon Cramer, a certified nurse anestehtist and mom of three grown children in the Pacific northwest, her book, MARLOW & THE MONSTER (Talking Bird Books, August 2012) says it all: monters don’t exist…or do they?!
(image retrieved from Amazon.com 8.17.12) Cramer is the author and illustrator of three previous books: Cougar Cub Tales, a three-book series, but this is her first stand-alone title. Marlow & the Monster is beautifully illustrated in black & white quill pen and ink, while portraying the monster in vivid color. Of course–what monster would be in black & white to any child’s imagination? Cramer states it took about 30-40 hours per illustration!
In Marlow and the Monster, young Marlow has a monster lurking in his room. He doesn’t like it–not one bit. Finally, after some trouble with the monster, Marlow marches him down to his sister, Sarah’s room. Sarah is actually younger than Marlow, but she knows just what to do with him. Perhaps our “monsters” aren’t all that scary after all? Can a monster be goofy? Creative? Guess you’ll have to read the book to find out.
The book is best suited for kids ages 3-7. My soon-to-be-kindergartner liked it “okay,” but agreed that kids do think about monsters a lot, “Sometimes I think there is a monster in my closet, but I know there isn’t. Not really.”
Cramer says the book is, “my first trip onto the wild side!” In fact, the book may be likened to “Where the Wild Things Are,” as it reminds me as a modern take on the classic by Maurice Sendak, particularly in terms of artistic style.
Here are some tips and ides for parents who may be struggling with the “monster under the bed”:
- Ask your child to describe the monster. Get really detailed. Ask about colors, if the monster talks (what does she say), is the monster a boy or a girl? What is the worst thing that can happen? What is the best thing that can happen? Sometimes breaking it down into simple terms helps kids understand that there is really nothing to fear, and that their imagination is actually quite powerful
- Draw a picture of your monster. Oh, time to get out the art supplies! Googly eyes, pipe cleaners, construction paper, glue…bring it on!!
- Be open and honest about fears. It’s just another feeling, and feelings are okay to discuss. Make sure your child knows that. What may be bothering your child may actually suprise you. Perhaps it’s nothing “typical” like going to school or the dentist, but maybe something that happened on the playground.
- Tell your child some of the things you are/were afraid of and what you did to get over it. My hubby used this example from his childhood, “I thought there was a monster in my closet for months. I wouldn’t even open it unless a grown-up was in the room. One day, I just flung the closet door open and said, ‘you get out of there, you mean ol’ monster’ and that monster never came back?”
Hip-Hip-Hooray! Today is give-a-way Friday. Here’s what you need to do: Tell us why your family needs this book in the comment section of the blog. Only blog comments will be considered for the give-a-way. Winner is the person whose date of birth is closet to my 5-year olds…You have till Monday 8/20/12 at 5pm to enter! Good luck.
***AND THE WINNER IS: Amanda B. and Family!! Amanda’s Birthday (Feb 13th) is closest to my 5yo daughter’s January 10th Birthday. Runner-up was Margaret M. with a Feb 28th BD. I appreciate all of those who entered. Thanks!!**** (this contest is now officially closed. 8/21/12).
To learn more, see www.talkingbirdbooks.com.