We read an early review copy provided by the publisher.
Sam and Alex reviewed this book!
Cory Doctorow and Matt Rockefeller team up to give the youngest horror fans out there a new story to love in Poesy the Monster Slayer! Outside of maybe some spookier Halloween stories and a handful of scary picture books there aren’t a whole lot of books for kids that focus on traditional horror themes. So I was very excited to see read this book. (So was Alex!)
In this book, Poesy – the titular monster slayer – is a young girl obsessed with monsters. Her father reads her a “bedtime story” which basically consists of entries in a monster facts book and then sends her to bed. Unlike most kids, though, Poesy isn’t afraid of the monsters who come into her room at night. She’s ready for them and she fights back.
Now, are there really monsters coming into her room? I couldn’t tell you for sure. Her parents are up all night telling her to go to bed and each time they arrive any evidence of a real monster is long gone. But the aftermath of her final battle of the evening leaves you wondering!
Now, Poesy the Monster Slayer isn’t necessarily a super scary book.
But the monsters in the book are truly monsters.
The character designs aren’t softened any or altered to seem more cartoon-like. The werewolf is a werewolf. The vampire is a vampire. And the ‘Great Old One’ with the giant eyeball was actually kinda terrifying even to me. Matt Rockefeller does a great job balancing the traditional designs while acknowledging that this is a children’s book.
I think it’s empowering that Poesy fights back against the monsters. A lot of kids – my youngest included – have had those moments where they’re too afraid to go to bed. Every shadow or small little sound is a monster coming to get them. But instead of being afraid, Poesy is excited to dispatch the monsters. Poesy the Monster Slayer may be a great way to show kids that monsters aren’t something to be afraid of – though conversations may want to be hard before they spend the whole night up pretending to fight monsters like Poesy!
I also love that Poesy is depicted as a young girl of color. She is biracial, resourceful, and in love with horror. I think that she will speak not just to the young horror fans like her out there but also young readers of color who don’t always see themselves represented in either picture books or horror.
If you’ve got a kiddo who loves monsters, Poesy the Monster Slayer might be a great bedtime choice. It’s also a good book for kids interested in comics as there are a handful of word bubbles and the occasional panel structure. Definitely make sure your kiddos won’t be too afraid of the monsters, though, before you read it! And while I know it’s only July, it’s worth setting this one aside for Halloween story-times, too.
Alex LIKES this Book!
I can say with absolute certainty that Alex is going to grow up to be quite the little horror fan. She actually reminds me a lot of Poesy. Alex’s favorite monster in the book was the ‘Great Old One’ most likely because beholders from D&D are her all time favorite monster. She thinks that the monsters were real (and she may be right) but that worried her a little at the end when Poesy’s sleepy parents compare themselves to zombies. She thought they might actually be zombies! Over all, Alex loved the illustrations and loved looking at the different monsters.
Title: Poesy the Monster Slayer
Author: Cory Doctorow
Illustrator: Matt Rockefeller
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Publisher: First Second
Review Spoilers: High
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