The best children’s books with not so scary monsters

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated with monsters. Always have been. But in a weird way. I was never a scare seeker. I sought out the unique monsters, not the traditional werewolves and vampires. I related to the creatures who were more human than the humans. The ones that struggled to fit in, but if you took the time to get to know them, they were more interesting than anyone you had ever encountered before. And I think that’s a theme I use in my stories. Overcoming your fear of things that are strange or different can open wondrous new worlds.

I wrote...

Monster Chefs

By Brian Anderson,

Book cover of Monster Chefs

What is my book about?

The horribly horrible monster king summoned his four equally horrible chefs. "I am tired of eating only eyeballs and ketchup," roared the king. "Find me something new to eat or you will find yourselves on my menu!" Trembling with fear, they each set off in a different direction to look for something truly scrumptious. But what, besides eyeballs and ketchup, could a monster king possibly want to eat? A rabbit? A fish? A snake? What one finally brings back may change dinnertime in the kingdom forever.

“Little monsters following along at home will also likely clamor to try out their baking skills.” ―BCCB

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Wolves in the Walls

Brian Anderson Why did I love this book?

This is my all-time favorite book! It’s odd, quirky, and unpredictable. While not technically monsters, the wolves are terrifying…at first. You feel the helplessness of the characters, but rest assured, you cheer when they get a handle on the situation. This is a one-of-a-kind story that you’ll want to share with your entire family.

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wolves in the Walls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

"Gaiman does here for the older picture-book set what he did for middle-grade readers with Coraline." —Kirkus (starred review)

Lucy is sure there are wolves living in the walls of their house—and, as everybody says, if the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over. Her family doesn't believe her. Then one day, the wolves come out.

But it's not all over. Instead, Lucy's battle with the wolves is only just beginning.

There are sneaking, creeping, crumpling noises coming from inside the walls...

This New York Times Best Illustrated Book combines a deliciously creepy tale, a strong heroine, and…

Book cover of Bonaparte Falls Apart

Brian Anderson Why did I love this book?

This one oozes adorableness. But it’s more than just cute. It’s a story about a young skeleton who is literally falling apart. Everyone, myself included, can relate to those awkward times. The best part is that his friends help him pull together. Of course, that means lots of silly hijinks, but you’ll get the feels from this story as you read it to your kids.

By Margery Cuyler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bonaparte Falls Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Carve out family time for this clever and humorous picture book about a skeleton who is falling to pieces that needs help pulling himself together.
Bonaparte is having a tough time. It’s hard for this young skeleton to just hang loose when he can’t keep hold of himself.
When he plays catch, his throwing arm literally takes a flyer. Eating lunch can be a real jaw-dropping occasion. How can he start school when he has so many screws loose?

Luckily, Bonaparte hit the bone-anza when it came to his friends. Franky Stein, Blacky Widow, and Mummicula all have some bonehead…

Book cover of Looking for a Jumbie

Brian Anderson Why did I love this book?

When I was a kid I loved looking for monsters. When we drove through the New England woods, I would stare between the trees, convinced I would glimpse a shadowy creature. This book brought back lots of memories. As this book shows, you learn a lot about yourself when you go looking for things that you shouldn’t. 

By Tracey Baptiste, Amber Ren (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Looking for a Jumbie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Tracey Baptiste and acclaimed illustrator Amber Ren take readers on a fun, creepy, storytime-ready romp through a forest filled with creatures from Caribbean folklore.

I'm looking for a jumbie, I'm going to find a scary one.

But Mama says jumbies exist only in stories. So Naya sets out on a nighttime adventure to find out for herself.

No such thing, say the friends she makes along the way.

But Naya is sure that jumbies are real. Some have big mouths. Or thick fur. Or glowing skin. Or sharp teeth. Kind of like her new friends....…

Book cover of Julia's House for Lost Creatures

Brian Anderson Why did I love this book?

Aside from the stellar art and character design, this is the type of book that enthralls kids. It has an imaginative premise and the chaos builds and builds. I’m partial to picture books that immerse you in a unique world. This does that quite well. Also, the sound effect words in this book make it a blast to read aloud. 

By Ben Hatke,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Julia's House for Lost Creatures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Julia's housemates have to do their chores - even if they're fairies, goblins, mermaids, and dragons! When Julia and her walking house come to town, she likes everything about her new neighbourhood except how quiet it is! So Julia puts a sign up: "Julia's House for Lost Creatures." Soon she's hosting goblins, mermaids, fairies, and even a dragon. Quiet isn't a problem anymore for Julia...but getting her housemates to behave themselves is!

Book cover of I Will Fight Monsters for You

Brian Anderson Why did I love this book?

Books teaching kids not to be afraid of the dark can be cliched and a bit preachy. I stay away from books that “talk” to kids. However, while this book does deal with fear and bravery, it does so in a subtle way and feels genuine. The lessons come from the characters and not the writer. This is a sweet story and you will find yourself rooting for Martina.

By Santi Balmes, Lyona (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Will Fight Monsters for You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Two little girls―one human and the other a monster―are afraid to go to sleep for fear of what's living under their beds.

What if an entire world of MONSTERS lived underneath your floor? Martina is having trouble sleeping because she is afraid monsters might break through the floor and bring her into the monster world where she'll have to learn how to scare humans. Meanwhile, Anitram, a little girl monster, is also having trouble sleeping. There's a noisy little human jumping on the bed in the upside-down world under her floor! Martina and Anitram have more in common than they…

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Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

Book cover of Saving Raine

Marian L Thomas

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Saving Raine is a captivating tale of resilience, redemption, and the enduring power of love, penned by the acclaimed author Marian L. Thomas.

This contemporary fiction novel chronicles the compelling journey of Raine Reynolds as she confronts heartache, betrayal, and loss. Against the vibrant backdrops of Atlanta and Paris, Raine's story unfolds as she grapples with the aftermath of her husband's infidelity and tragic passing.

Through poignant prose and compelling characters, "Saving Raine" delves into themes of forgiveness, healing, and the strength discovered in confronting life's greatest challenges. Readers will be captivated by Raine's emotional odyssey as she unearths hope, redemption, and the courage to embrace a brighter future.

Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

What is this book about?

Raine Reynolds stands at the crossroads of despair and opportunity.
When the life you've built crumbles and the past refuses to release its grip, sometimes you need a fresh start-a new beginning that promises hope and redemption.
Once a celebrated author, Raine's life unraveled, sending her fleeing to the picturesque streets of Paris to escape the tormenting heartache that threatened to consume her. Yet, no matter how far she traveled, the pain remained her unwelcome companion.
Returning to bustling Atlanta as a senior VP for an ad agency, Raine is forced to confront a city steeped in…

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