A Monster in My Cereal


51 pages
ISBN 0-929005-12-0
DDC jC843'.54





Illustrations by Philippe Germain
Translated by Sarah Cummins
Reviewed by Joan Sanderson

Joan Sanderson is a professional storyteller doing “Book Talks” for
Minnow Books.


This book will appeal to children in the 7-to–9 age range. A little
girl called Poppy is left in her father’s care while her mother and
little brother, Pip, go to the hospital to get Pip’s tonsils removed.
Poppy feels sorry for herself—sorry Pip is getting extra attention,
sorry she is being left with her father (who watches dumb sports on tv),
and sorry she is being teased about her new hairdo.

In the opening breakfast scene, Poppy focuses on the picture on the
cereal box, rather than on her father, her mother, or Pip. Her attention
is rewarded by a wink from the huge, white, catlike monster on the box.
Later, the monster not only winks, but sympathizes with Poppy and grants
her wishes. Her last wish, her father’s disappearance, and the
monster’s fate provide tension to the story. The tension is lessened
because Poppy’s father, not Poppy herself, discovers the solution.

The first-person writing and the realistic dialogue help make this book
appealing. The drawings and the notion of the monster in the cereal box
are very reminiscent of another book for this age group, Aliens for
Breakfast. Aliens and other recent books may cause one to wonder if the
monster theme is overworked.

This book is about a young girl’s family relationships, particularly
her relationship with her father. The reader can emphathize with Poppy,
but the story leaves many loose ends. Was the monster a dream, as she
says? If so, where did the white hairs come from? What was the link
between her father and the monster? These questions may engage a young
reader’s imagination, or they may leave a feeling of dissatisfaction.


Hébert, Marie-Francine., “A Monster in My Cereal,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24280.