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updated: 7/11/2013 2:52 PM

Take a peek into a child's wild imagination

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By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Mama says you've been bad today.

She thinks you're not listening. She says you've done everything exactly the opposite of what she wants. You've used your outdoor voice inside, broken something valuable, made a big mess, fought with your sister, and you were sassy.

Mama's at the end of her rope, then she says something that's a little bit odd. In the new book "He's Been a Monster All Day!" by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Cyd Moore, she says something that lots of Mamas might say.

The little boy's mother had enough!

She told the little boy's daddy the boy was a monster, but the little boy didn't quite understand why. He thought he was good. He was just having fun. But if she thought he was a monster, well then ... that was exactly what he'd be!

Monsters are scary and growly, they stomp and snarl, and they have fangs. Definitely, monsters scare people away. Maybe one of them would be Mom!

Yep, monsters are scary but they're not scared. So the little creature that lived beneath the boy's bed wasn't so frightening anymore -- in fact, that little under-the-bed monster made a good pet for a big-boy monster.

Maybe, he thought, he'd be the kind of monster that flies or has scales like a dinosaur. He'd be able to play in the mud, make lots of noise, and stay up all night because nobody tells a monster what to do. He could eat yucky things and be very silly if he wanted. And there's absolutely no need for a monster to have manners.

On the other hand, being a monster can be very lonesome. Who wants to play with someone who's growly and snarly, anyhow? Nobody likes monsters, really. And it's no fun to eat ice cream or go to the beach all by yourself.

Maybe he wouldn't be a monster after all. Maybe he'd just be a little boy.

He hoped Mom forgot about how naughty he was. Maybe she wouldn't remember and he could start all over tomorrow. Perhaps Daddy would have something good to say to help Mom feel much, much better ...

Don't you sometimes look at your child and wonder what really goes on inside that little head -- especially when frustration slips from your lips? "He's Been a Monster All Day!" is one cute possibility.

There's big imagination inside author Denise Brennan-Nelson's main character, as well as a mile-wide mischievous streak. Her little monster-boy lets his wild side go, thinking up all kinds of rowdy things to do -- most of which, I'm sure, the average child has likewise considered.

Of course, half the fun of a picture book like this is in the illustrations, and Cyd Moore adds nothing but delight to this story. Kids and parents alike will love the vibrant colors and the giggle-making artwork.

If you and your child have ever had one of those days, then this is a book you'll want on your shelf. For 3-to-6-year-olds, "He's Been a Monster All Day!" ain't bad.

Terri Schlichenmeyer, aka The Bookworm, has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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