Written by Joe Ballarini
Scary and silly. Disgusting and sweet. This book has enough going for it to keep the attention of a lot of boys and girls.
Eighth-grader Kelly Ferguson reluctantly agrees to babysitter for five-year-old Jacob Zellman, son of Kelly’s mother’s boss. On Halloween. The problem is, Jacob has wild nightmares, made worse by candy and scary movies. Amazingly, Jacob’s nightmares also come to life, an ability the monsters find irresistible. When Jacob gets kidnapped by the monsters, Kelly finds herself in a world she didn’t know existed – the world of professional babysitters. Monsters come in many categories with specific strengths and weaknesses, and babysitters need to be aware of them. Monsters are strongest when parents aren’t around. Rookie Kelly is led around by more than one hyper-experienced babysitter to rescue Jacob and protect other children along the way. The leader of the monsters is the boogeyman (aka, The Grand Guignol), but the threat of other strong leaders is very real in the babysitters’ world. As part of Jacob’s nightmares, even broccoli is threatening.
Vivid descriptions and imaginative scenarios are highlighted in this exciting tale. With strong characters and strong themes of fighting your fears, this story is great for middle grades, but maybe not for the very young or very nervous. It certainly is a lot of fun.
- Title: A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting #1
- Author: Joe Ballarini
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, 2017
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
- ISBN: 978-0-06-243783-9
- Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
- Grade level: 3 to 7