Recommended Age Range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Publisher's Summary: Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel—but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON’T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What’s a girl to do? (Hint: Monsters HATE kisses!)
Dr. Annie's Takeaways
Recommended for: This book is a really fun read for a child who has a fear of monsters under the bed or in the closet, but who knows (at least on some level) that monsters aren’t real. It helps a child to shift their view on monsters from dangerous to silly and innocuous. It’s also just a very adorable book.
Would a child like it? Many children will really enjoy this book. It’s fun and funny and ends with a child having power over the monsters who’ve been interrupting her sleep.
Evidence-Based Practices: Cognitive Restructuring
Tone: Fun, silly
Story Quality: This book is really adorable. Winifred is annoyed that the monsters are keeping her up at night (she thinks they’re cute–she’s not afraid of them). She tries different strategies she reads about to try to get rid of the monsters, but nothing works. One night, she’s dreaming about puppies and accidentally kisses one of the monsters. The monsters all gag and run away. From this moment on, they mostly leave her alone, and if one comes along, she just gives it a little kiss. It’s an extremely cute monster bedtime story.
Illustrations: Charming, colorful illustrations with lots of patterns and texture. The monsters are mostly cute, although a very young child might find them a bit frightening. There is one picture of the monsters’ shadows that’s a bit scary.
Representation: Winifred Schnitzel is a Black girl who “was never afraid. Not of monsters or ghouls or the noises they made.” The story takes place in her bedroom.
Psychological Practices: This story helps a child to shift their thoughts about monsters from being scary and dangerous to being cute. The ending suggests that rather than a child being vulnerable to a monster, monsters are vulnerable to a child (and their kisses). Sometimes children develop a fear of monsters after hearing or watching a scary story. But other times, children imagine bedtime monsters as an externalization of their worries and fears about nighttime, the dark, or whatever stressful experiences or feelings are happening in their lives at that moment. In any case, the strategy of looking at a fear head-on, giving it a kiss and a snuggle, and watching it head out the door is a good one to practice before bed! Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) providers will enjoy using their imaginations to work with this metaphor.
Watch a Read-Aloud: YouTube (not affiliated with Dr. Annie's Bookshelf)