I love the anticipation of opening a new children’s book for the first time. My little girl sits next to me, squeezed into my side, waiting for me to begin.

How To Catch A Monster by Christina Bollenbach

Lukas sat on the edge of his bed, waiting for the monster…

This is the story of a little boy facing his fears.

Monsters are timeless, aren’t they? Aspiring children’s book writers are told that children like  magic and monsters. It’s true. Among the books sent to us by Scholastic, which are published this year, this was the book that stood out for my little girl.

Monsters are an archetype which represent bad/evil. The monster lurks under many a child’s bed. It embodies their general fears. The concept of fear begins to emerge for preschool age children, as their fantasy world expands, and awareness of concepts like darkness, death, or pain develop.

Maybe, monsters under beds is a common theme because children fear being alone, as they lay in the dark, trying to sleep. Their fantasy hooks into an image they have seen, and the fictitious monster begins to seem real.

“Why does the monster have teeth?” my daughter asks, among a million other Why questions. I don’t know. Why do monsters have teeth? What I know is that monsters capture children’s imagination.

We read the book, and read the book again. And once more for good measure. We then set a monster trap, like Lukas does in the story. The box the books came in was perfect. We propped it up with a piece of wood, and instead of cookies, we put macadamia nuts out to tempt the monster.

In this book, Lukas takes control of his situation, and his fear. And when he does meet the monster, it’s is not as bad as he imagined. In fact, it’s rather friendly.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful. You can see more of Christina Bollenbach’s work here.

How to Catch a Monster is a really sweet book, and as far as I know, is no relationship to the Ryan Gosling movie How To Catch a Monster, featuring Christina Hendricks (not Bollenbach) due for release next year.

Do monsters live under the beds of your children? How do you address fear of monsters?