The Monster at Recess has an inviting bright and cheerful cover featuring a cute, diverse assortment of monsters that capture your imagination before you even read the blurb. Shira C. Potter has written an uplifting book that will resonate with young girls, especially those who don’t feel like they belong.
Sophie attends Grey Stone Day School. The monsters at Monstamasta Day School share the same playground as the students at Sophie’s school but have recess at a different time, as girls at Grey Stone aren’t supposed to talk to the monsters. Sophie’s school is filled with drab grey and black, and she’s envious of the various monster colours.
Sophie doesn’t fit in at her school, even after she convinces her mother to dye her naturally red hair brown to match the other girls. She is bullied, ignored and gossiped about. When Sophie meets Zaragilda, a purplish pink monster with red stars on her face, she finds a new friend and discovers that being different isn’t so bad after all.
The messages about making judgements about other people based on their looks and reputation, the constraints of conformity versus the freedom of being yourself, the damaging effects on self esteem of bullying, and having the courage to go against the grain are vital and made clear to the reader.
I appreciated the positivity and hope found in this book, and the encouragement to be yourself. One of my favourite things about this book was learning that it was the bullies who were the real monsters, not the colourful monsters the girls were taught to fear. I want this book to find its way into homes, libraries and schools, and into the hands of lots of young girls, particularly those who have experienced bullying or feel different from their peers.
Thank you very much to NetGalley and Independent Book Publishers Association for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
Meet misfit Sophie, too used to bullies at Grey Stone Day School. Her classmates Julia and Molly tease her to no end and her teacher, Mrs. Cook ignores the bullying.
The playground at Grey Stone has a special secret though: it’s shared with the students of a monster school!
Craving acceptance and diversity, and trying to defeat her feelings of fear towards these strange and colourful monsters, Sophie bravely steps into the unknown and meets a little monster at recess – and makes her first friend. Through her friendship with the monster, she develops stronger feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem. In addition, she learns to stand tall and to appreciate differences and she discovers that sometimes you really can turn lemons into lemonade.