Lee Carr (text) & Jane Massey (illustrations)
(Red Fox)

Jake wants to play with his mum but he must first wait for his baby sister, Meg, to go to sleep, as it is nap time. But Meg has other ideas, and when Mum had said that without her nap, Meg turned into a little Monster Baby, she was not wrong! As she starts sprouting fur and growing at an alarming rate, Jake is desperate for his mum not to find out; will he be able to help Monster Meg go to sleep and return to her normal cute self before Mum notices?

This really sweet picture book will ring true to many big brothers with baby sisters. I wish it had been around in 2005 when my own Monster Baby was born! I would have welcome it particularly because it would have elevated some of my guilt about spending too little time with my son: the story shows the mum to have jobs to do before she can play with Jake, and I always felt bad at having to tell him “wait a minute until I do this” or “I just have to sort that out first”. Thankfully my little boy was as good-natured as the little hero of this story! But I think it is great to show the reality of having a little sibling to young children, and this does a great job at showing it (the subject matter reminded me a little bit of Martin Waddell and Penny Dale’s Rosie’s Babies, another great book about having a baby in the family). The clear, gentle-looking and softly coloured illustrations will appeal to even the youngest of readers (I love the colour of  Monster Baby’s fur!) and the flaps will keep them entertained too. The illustrations go a long way at echoing the tone of the story: for example, as Meg gradually turns into a monster, Jake becomes increasingly worried and so do Meg’s soft toys. I am sure it is a detail that little readers won’t fail to notice:
The book’s simple narrative is perfectly pitched and lends itself easily to reading aloud. This book can be used to spark discussion on the changes that might ensue from a sibling’s arrival and therefore parents might also want to read this in preparation of a happy arrival. 
Monster Baby is well-worth checking out if your family is about to or has just welcomed a new addition.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s  Fabulous Five feature, as author Lee Carr will be presenting her top five picture books with no and little text!

All illustrations Ó Jane Massey
Thank you to Random House Children’s Books for sending my a review copy  of “Monster Baby”.