ALFRED’S BOOK OF MONSTERS
by Sam Streed
August 2019 – Charlesbridge Publishing (US)
With nods to Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, and Neil Gaiman, this humorous picture book about a Victorian boy obsessed with monsters presents a dark and appealing world, created by debut author/illustrator Sam Streed.
After reading about the slimy Nixie, the angry Black Shuck, and the creepy Lantern Man in his beloved Book of Monsters, Alfred decides to invite the monsters to teatime with his crusty old aunty, who thinks monsters are an improper obsession for a respectable young boy.
Sam Streed is a children’s book author/illustrator, game artist, and animator. He recently graduated from Rhode Island School of Design.
“A young boy who detests ‘delightful things’ shakes up teatime. Alfred prefers to spend his time in his study with a book of monsters, gruesome knickknacks perched on his desk and shelves. While Alfred detests such pleasant occupations as teatime, his aunt (the only other human in the book) is horrified by his ghoulish fancies, claiming that ‘Polite young boys do not hate tea parties, and they certainly do not want monsters!’ But Alfred does, and he issues invitations to tea to each of three monsters in his town. For once, Alfred’s teatime is ‘terrible,’ just the way he likes it. And his aunt? The disheveled woman kicks back in a chair, her ‘Whoa’ echoing those Alfred utters when he reads his book. This is one pretty spooky picture book, with skulls, a jar of eyeballs, and talk of stolen souls. The Nixie’s poison green eyes, the Black Shuck’s single red one, and the Lantern Man’s bright yellow ones add some brilliant color amid the art’s otherwise muted tones, which are dominated by the sepia backdrop. The old-fashioned feel is emphasized by the subdued backgrounds and the setting: floral wallpaper, the candle and inkwell on Alfred’s desk, and the duo’s rather formal clothing. Streed offers thrills and chills, though Alfred’s behavior may seem to straddle or even cross the line of naughtiness. A delightfully spooky book for sturdy young readers.”—Kirkus Reviews