3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The Three Little Monsters in Gruesome Gets a Toothache is the second book in the Three Little Monsters series by Jessica Snape is a charming little fairy tale set in a world that is a whimsical meld of real life and the fantasy of a child’s imagination.
The premise of the book is one that most children can relate to: Gruesome has a toothache. We all know from experience how miserable that can be, but Gruesome is in denial, because he's fighting an internal battle as well. He's afraid to go to the dentist. (Poor kid, I get it.) It probably doesn't help that he's getting a lot of advice - some of it conflicting - and that's a lot of information for a young monster to sort out... especially when he's dealing with pain he just can't ignore.
Eventually, Gruesome does make the trip to the dentist, where he learns a little about (monster) nutrition, and how to have healthy (monster) teeth. Unfortunately, Gruesome has trouble sticking with his new routine, and then he really has some problems he needs to sort out.
The book is a great option for kids to learn some real facts about toothaches, dental health, and eating good foods all from the safe distance of poor Gruesome. It's so easy to understand how a child with a toothache might be reluctant to tell Mom or Dad, especially after hearing tales (the scarier, the better) from playmates. Children are able to follow along with Gruesome as he endures the pain, becomes desperate enough to be willing to go to the dentist, and learn first hand what happens when you don't take care of your teeth. Aside from the obvious fanciful fun of the characters being friendly monsters (complete with their own household ghost), the story is enhanced by the colorful personalities of the monsters. Gruesome's character himself doesn't come through as strong as the others, but let's face it - most of the time, he's either in pain or trying to figure out what to do about it. The others, however, are very expressive, opinionated, and have strong ideas about what would be best for Gruesome. They aren't always the kindest or politest when it comes to expressing themselves, but, hey, they're monsters, and there's never any doubt e concern about Gruesome's well being. I found that I very much enjoyed the monsters especially when they were away from home, at the dentist office, interacting with other monster-community members.
I am quite certain that my boys would have enjoyed this book as a read aloud, at bedtime, naptime, or just quiet time, when they were younger. In fact, I think, in many ways, this is the perfect bedtime book. What better way to make children comfortable before sleeping time than to spend some time with monsters, realize that they really aren't scary at all, and have a lot of the same worries as we do? The only snag I see in reading this at bed time is that the book is presented as one, long story. If you're children are used to one, very long story in the evenings, it will work. Otherwise, parents will need to make decisions about where to pause in the story themselves.
Another thought - I mentioned earlier, the monsters are often not polite or kind. While I felt it was in keeping with their characters as being monsters, this is something with my own children I would have needed to keep a close eye on, as there is a good chance my own children would pick up these patterns of speech and behavior. Even one of my boys now, who is an independent reader, commented to be about how the monsters are “awful” to each other. This aspect of the story can serve as a good conversation starter, and a place to talk about what are acceptable manners for monsters, compared with what are acceptable manners for human beings.
I rated this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would have given four stars; however, I noticed a significant number of punctuation discrepancies in the book. At first, I was willing to allow them for poetic license, thinking, perhaps that the author intended to depict the character speaking in a run-on, excited, sequence of words and sentences. But I found, as the book went on, that commas in particular were simply missing in places where they were grammatically required. This is a bit of a shame, because that is the only thing holding me back from suggesting this as an excellent offering to children who are becoming independent readers and enjoy fanciful stories.
Three Little Monsters in Gruesome Gets A Toothache
View: on Bookshelves | on Barnes and Noble
Like SandraTWP-BRW's review? Post a comment saying so!