Love Monster series by Rachel Bright
(Ages 3 – 6)
Follow Love Monster through his poignant journey of self-discovery in this attractive, child friendly series. Each installment features our adorable protagonist, Love Monster, facing a challenge that most children will be able to relate to. Meaningful messages concerning acceptance, sharing, and friendship are presented in a child friendly manner and are interlaced with colorful, bold illustrations. This series mainly stands out due to Rachel Bright’s ability to create touching stories with engaging pictures and a quiet humor that both adults and children will appreciate.
I knew this series was a winner when one of my students came up to me hugging Love Monster and the Perfect Present and declared “I just love the Love Monster books”. It made my heart smile to see this child enjoy these books so much. I decided to try them with my own children and was impressed when they asked if there were more books with Love Monster.
Love Monster by Rachel Bright (2013)
The land of Cutesville is filled with adorable creatures…except poor Love Monster. His difference in appearance causes him to feel like an outcast and despite his name, unloved. He doesn’t let this get him down though. He decides to search for someone who will love him just the way he is. Despite searching high and low, he fails in his quest and is just about to return home alone when he meets his perfect match.
While the book is sweet and my son enjoyed it, the first book in the series is actually my least favorite. The last line stating, “sometimes when you least expect it, love finds you” seemed a bit adult oriented to me. More importantly, I wish there had been one last scene with the citizens of Cutesville welcoming Love Monster back validating that he was accepted by all no matter how he looks. He is friends with all of the other animals in the subsequent books in the series, but this detail is missed in this book.
Love Monster and the Perfect Present by Rachel Bright (2014)
Present Day “when everyone gives a lovely someone something lovely” is the biggest holiday in Cutesville and Love Monster wants to find the perfect present for that special someone in his life. He quickly learns that this is no easy task. He goes shopping, but discovers that beautiful, shiny things are expensive. Luckily, it turns out, that the best presents are the ones given with lots of love and thoughtfulness. This is a great story that will resonate during the holiday gift -giving season, Valentine’s Day or any time someone is in the mood for a good story.
Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright (2015)
Love Monster returns from a vacation to find a box of chocolates on his doorstep. He excitedly plans to eat the entire box, when he is struck by the idea of sharing with his friends. He proceeds to have an inner struggle debating whether or not to share the delicious treats (reminiscent of Mo Willem’s Should I Share My Ice Cream). In the end, he decides to share… he is a love monster after all, but in a surprising twist, discovers that his friends are the ones who had shared the last candy with him.
This is a great story to read anytime, but with a box of chocolates being a popular Valentine’s gift, it provides a nice lesson during this holiday. As most children have difficulty sharing, this is an easy story to relate to. I think it is valuable for children to see Love Monster’s internal struggle and that he eventually made the right choice to share. The ending leaves the reader with a perfect lasting thought, “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.”