From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–In this tale of bedtime anxiety, Little Bobo is teased by his older brother because he's afraid of a boy under his bed. Yet the young monster claims he's no fraidy-cat, neither, because who wouldn't be scared of a boy with pink skin and orange fur on his head where his horns by right should be, and eyes that awful color the sky is when you wake up in the middle of the day…. Then Boo-Dad (grandfather) shows up. As family members swig hot bug juice and eat slabs of homemade bread with jitterbug jam, he tells of his own childhood encounter with a human. Bobo finds comfort and courage in the tale, and, at bedtime, when the boy appears, Bobo is ready for him. The story is told in an on-again-off-again folksy dialect, and is too lengthy and confusing for young audiences. For example, the beginning of Boo-Dad's tale is visually set apart from the rest of the story, but there is no clear ending. Despite the textual problems, the art is beautiful. With muted colors, black outlines, and shadows, it will both enchant and frighten young readers. Carefully detailed bugs and other critters frame Boo-Dad's story and cover the walls, Mama's dress, and the endpapers. The text is presented in traditional format and dialogue balloons. The book's audience is older children who have outgrown their fear of monsters.–Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
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*Starred Review* Gr. 1-3. Though this isn't as concise as Mercer Mayer's classic There's a Nightmare in My Closet (1968), Hicks' crackerjack read-aloud offers a common variation on the typical kid-versus-nighttime-bogey story. Little monster Bobo is convinced that a scary boy is responsible for the "scritch-scratch-skittering" under his bed. Galvanized by advice from his affable grandpa, delivered over bedtime snacks of toast and jitterbug jam, Bobo confronts and befriends his intruder. Though Bobo, a behorned, chimplike fellow clad in union-suit "jim-jams," is as soul-tuggingly cute as Deacon's alien protagonist from Beegu (2004), it's the creators' idiosyncratic vision that sets this apart from other, similarly themed picture books. Printed on luxurious, buff-colored paper, Deacon's line-and-watercolor artwork unites cleverly altered Victorian decorative elements, such as wallpaper patterned with beetles and snails, with the striking, varied design of contemporary graphic novels. First-time writer Hicks' folksy, slightly off-kilter language, full of fractured grammar and quirky aphorisms, keeps the sense of an exotic, alternate reality watertight. The monsters on every page may be too much for some sensitive young ones, but many other nighttime worriers will be reassured and amused by this charming visit to the other side of the closet wall. Jennifer Mattson
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