Booktalk for A BABYSITTER’S GUIDE TO MONSTER HUNTING BY Joe Ballarini

Kelly doesn’t believe in monsters under the bed. Obviously. She’s an ordinary 8th grader with a best friend, secret crush, and dreams of being cooler in high school.

She’s trying to save up enough money to go to a sleepaway camp. That’s the only reason she takes this babysitting job, her first ever, on Halloween. She doesn’t even like kids.

And 4-year-old Jacob is a handful. Not only does he threaten to flush her phone down the toilet, but he’s been plagued by scary dreams lately. He doesn’t want to go to bed without his usual babysitter, Liz, there to protect him from monsters.

He’s made drawings of them:

A human-sized rat that lurks behind the closet door. A giant spider in the trees outside. A tall, slender man with a bald head, yellow eyes, and hooves for feet.

“He comes to my window when I’m asleep,” Jacob says.

Kelly puts on her best grown-up voice and reassures him: “There’s nothing to be afraid of, Jake.”

Boy, was she wrong.

 

Genre: fantasy

Grades 5-8.

 

Anna’s take on it:

Creepy monsters are perhaps a little scary. The part of the booktalk that comes across as true horror: Jacob’s threat to flush Kelly’s phone down the toilet. Fifth and sixth graders gasped in shock at the thought of it.

I saw fairly steady, moderate interest in this title. Kelly starts out self-absorbed and addicted to her phone, but she is likeable, and it’s satisfying to see her transformation as she faces down the monsters.