Let’s Play Monsters!
It’s always a delight to see a new picture book from Lucy Cousins and this one (inspired by a game its creator played with her own grandson) will most definitely delight little ones.
Three year old Gabriel urges each of his family members in turn “Come on, … / I WANT TO PLAY! / You chase me / and I’ll run away.”
First to participate in the romping stomping pursuit is big sister Josie who morphs into a horror ‘green and scary, / with sharp, pointy teeth / and feet that are hairy’ and eager to MUNCH, CRUNCH, SCRUNCH, her brother for lunch.
Uncle Rufus obligingly grows imaginary cow horns and pig’s tail and sets off in hot pursuit …
The game continues with his gran and the family moggy giving chase as a pink jelly, smelly footed monster and a hissing roaring clawed creature; even the potted plant joins the frolicking …
The established predictability of the game takes a twist though when it’s Mum’s turn. She proceeds to comply with the child’s desire but his “Hee, hee, hee! / But you can’t / catch me!” is met with his ensnarement in her outstretched arms and an instruction that leads to the book’s highly satisfying finale.
As always Lucy Cousins’ signature illustrative style is arresting: accompanied by her rhyming narrative with its reassuring predictability, this entire chasing game is MONSTROUS fun and just right for a lead-up to bedtime story. I love the endpapers too – the front one shows the cast of characters as per normal and the back depicts their mock scary other selves; and of course, the entire book is an endorsement of the power of young children’s imaginations.