Book review: Scary Sleepover, by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Mike Malbrough

Bernstein, Ariel. Scary Sleepover. Illustrated by Mike Malbrough. (Warren & Dragon series, book 4). Viking, 2019. $14.99. ISBN 9780451481054. 90 Pages. Ages 6-10. P8 Q8 

What do you do when you have a fear and you are too embarrassed to tell your friend? Seven-year-old Warren has been invited to his friend Michael’s house for a sleep over. He fears that the scary stories will make him afraid and he will want to go home. Warren has a Dragon for a pet, but in reality, Dragon is a stuffed animal. With the help of his friend, Alison, he finds the courage to tell Michael how he feels. Will Michael make fun of him or understand? You will have to read the book to find out. The book has 12 short chapters, written from Warren’s point of view and is a quick read. Warren has a running outrageous word contest with Dragon throughout their adventures, which encourages readers to read nonsense words. When Warren refers to Dragon as his friend, the illustrations show Dragon larger than Warren. When other characters refer to Dragon, he is the size of a stuffed animal. Throughout the book , Michael refers to “one of his moms” which normalizes all types of families.

Verdict: Readers with fears or imaginary friends can relate to Warren. The theme of friendship, courage, imagination and respect come through clearly. LGBTQA+ inclusive with Michael having two moms. Readers will stay engaged and realize others have fears too. This is book 4 in the Warren & Dragon series, but it can easily stand alone. I highly recommend this book.

September 2019 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Stink and the Shark Sleepover, by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

McDonald, Megan. Stink and the Shark Sleepover. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Candlewick Press, 2014. $12.99. ISBN 9780763664749. 158 pgs. Ages 6-9. P8Q8.

McDonald Stink and the Shark SleepoverStink’s parents win tickets for a family sleepover at the local aquarium. The author shows how interesting an aquarium can be- Stink and his friends and family learn about different creatures as they move from exhibit to exhibit. Of course, the grosser the better, as far as Stink is concerned. The story is interspersed with facts about specific animals (like the vampire squid). Kids in our area may well have experienced an aquarium sleepover and no doubt have been to our aquarium, so this book will be especially relevant for them.

April 2015 review by Carol Schramm.