Book: My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things

My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things
Judith Viorst
Illustrated by Kay Chorao
1973

This is a cute little book told from the point of view of a small boy who is pretty convinced that there are monsters of varying kinds lurking around his house. His mother keeps assuring him that there are no such things as monsters of any of the kinds he sees, but he doesn’t believe her. After all, he knows that even mothers make mistakes. And like any little kid, he has a list of instances when she was wrong about one thing or another. The story is basic, but adorable.

The writing is excellent, which is much what I have come to expect from Judith Viorst. The child telling the story has a very consistent and very realistic voice. Viorst is mimicking a child’s voice, but she does it with great respect for children. The boy narrating the story never sounds silly or like the adult writing his words is looking down on him. In fact, it feels like Viorst very much sympathises with the boy and believes that he has a very real thing to say. Her story is very real and anyone who remembers being that young will remember the feeling of being faced with injustices from supposedly all-knowing sources (moms) as well as the feeling of doubting those sources because of past mistakes. How can you ever really believe someone who makes so many mistakes not in your favour, even if most of the time they are right? And those monsters seem awfully real at that age! It’s almost a better book for adults than children in that it will remind them of how it feels to be a small child. That said, it is more than accessible to children, who will completely identify with the hero and delight in the pictures.

The pictures are all black and white line drawings and certainly don’t stand out very much, but they are fun to look at just the same. The pictures of the child’s every day life are full of details that infuse that life – shelves spilling over with toys, kitchens full of dishes, games stashed under beds and family pictures cluttering the walls. The monster pictures are even better. They show a small child offset by impossibly large monsters with cartoon like, but scary features. Every kid imagined a monster like that at some point. Mine was purple and lived under the bed and would try and grab my feet if I stepped on the floor when the light was out. Each monster is unique and highly detailed. They really are wonderful illustrations.

This is a fun book to read. It isn’t nearly as memorable as some of Viorst’s other books, but it is pretty good. It’s hard not to sympathise with the little boy (or his mother) and would be as much fun to read to a room full of parents as a room full of kindergarteners!

- Publisher’s Description
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