"I Am Scary" by Elise Gravel is a cute children's book about facing one's fears. A monster tries its hardest to scare a little girl. The girl tells the monster she isn't afraid of it and offers the monster a hug instead.
What I liked about this book was the illustrations -- the monster looked like a modernized, pared-down version of a Maurice Sendak "Wild Thing." Elise Gravel, the author and illustrator, shows a two sides of the same coin -- bravery and fear standing side by side; her illustrations nicely contrast the little girl's bravery by showing her dog's reaction to the monster -- his barking and trying pulling her away.
I would have liked for the illustrations to be little larger and "close up." Some of the girl's reactions (and dialogue ) are a little more subtle than I would have liked for a young reader. But it also makes the monster less scary. The drama of this story would come through an adult's reading the story and voicing the drama. The pictures make the monster seem more comic than frightening.
The book could have taken the story a little further than the hug. "I AM SCARY" ends abruptly with the hug eliciting a tear from the monster and -- boom -- the end. Close ups of the characters would have made the emotions of these characters stronger and would have give the story more impact and energy, though I could see this being a nice gift book for adults who are parenting the toddlers or are facing fears or anxiety of their own. It would also make a nice title for a therapist's waiting room.
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