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Lesky Lee, Monster of Monsters (2015)

Written by Matt Bergin

Illustrated by Zach Wideman

October has just begun, and the cool days of autumn are here in earnest. I was very happy to receive a copy of Matt Bergin and Zach Wideman's Lesky Lee, Monster of Monsters. They had previously collaborated oBlank Slater, The Boy With The Dry-Erase Face, which definitely had a grim, slightly unsettling feel to it. This book is more classically Halloween, filled with Universal Movie monsters and other classic creatures - I saw Cthulu and a flying monkey - all haunting the dreams of the young heroine: Lesky Lee.

The nightmares take their toll on the girl, as nightmares must. She begins to become a bit of a monster herself, behaving beastly to her parents and classmates.

During Free Play, she trampled her schoolmates' toys like a rampaging dragon.
At Lunch, she devoured her schoolmate's snack like a greedy ogre.
When she wasn't grumpy like a goblin...
...she was zonked like a zombie!

Clearly, something must be done!

This is a rather long picture book, as picture books go. 39 pages... but fully illustrated throughout. We're treated to lots of images of Lesky fighting her way through the nightmare land, ripping the limbs from Frankenstein's monster, shaving the wolfman,..

...all in the service of allowing Lesky to return to normalcy. Normalcy, in this case, is a happy dream world filled with ponies and princesses and gumball gardens, apparently. No monsters in sight.

I enjoyed the wit of the story and the illustrations - and the character of Lesky - but I was a bit disappointed by the blandness of the seeming resolution. Then:

Only being moderately hip myself, I was later informed that this is a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Regardless, what follows - and what, it turns out, is the true arc of the tale - is Lesky realizing that she actually misses her nightmares. She liked  all the monsters haunting her dreams! They drove her crazy, but at least they were interesting! Who wouldn't want Cthulu hanging out in their subconscious?

"This boring dream is a nightmare! I want my monsters back!"

And so she seeks them out, seeking a compromise for all parties. So it wasn't a trite tale of a girl battling her nightmares after all! You were worried, I could tell. All ends well, for young girls and monsters alike. And really, isn't that what Halloween is all about?

This has been a sponsored post.

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