Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting #1 by Joe Ballarini

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (Babysitter's Guide to Monsters #1)My name is Kelly, and I've lost a little boy on my first babysitting job. He was taken by one of his nightmare monsters (yeah, I didn't believe in them either), so I called his regular sitter Liz. She's a babysitting, ninja monster hunter! It's all my fault Jacob was taken, but I don't know how to help. Liz keeps telling me to read the handbook, but I know she really thinks I'm a whiny loser. Our search for Jacob leads us to the huge, eighth-grade Halloween party. OMG, Victor's there, and he's looking sooooo cute! Liz and I find a Shadow Monster in the basement, and we rescue another little girl. Monsters don't usually kidnap this many kids at once. What do the monsters want with Jacob and the others? Jacob's last drawing looked like a monster I once saw in my dreams, but that's impossible. And, now? You'll need to read my babysitting handbook to find out the other unbelievable secrets I discovered.

I was expecting a cutesy story of teenage girls watching little kids, however this book describes a fast-paced, adventure. Kelly's character only wants to make money for summer camp, but she feels morally responsible for Jacob. She wants to be a cool eight-grader, but the cool kids at school mock her. The book doesn't provide any super-imaginative ideas, but it's written with a blend of humor, action, and suspense. The conflict even has a 1:00 am deadline, since that's when Jacob's parents will be home. As a parent and former teacher, I wasn't excited with toddlers being terrified, but it was necessary to develop the conflict. I can't think of any part of the plot where it seemed to slow down. The monsters were introduced early, and Kelly spent the rest of the time awkwardly trying to find Jacob. I'm still not totally clear about her abilities and the little voice she hears in her head. The author indicates there's something special about Kelly, but it's never spelled out for readers. Did she just become really brave and resourceful, or is there more to it? Either way, I was pleasantly surprised with this book, and I can easily recommend it to young lovers of monsters.

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