Bella and Monty: A Hairy, Scary Night ISBN: 9780340959848
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, 2010
Bella, a dog, and Monty, a cat, are great friends, and they agree about a lot of things, like orange as a colour and 'slurping' strands of spaghetti. But there is one big difference. Bella isn't afraid of anything, and Monty is a scaredy cat. He doesn't like spiders or monsters, plugholes or stinky cheese, crocodiles or toilet flushes, but most of all, he doesn't like the dark. During a sleepover, Monty admits to his fear, so Bella leads him out into the night and explains that the moon takes over then because the sun is tired and needs a rest. Together, they tuck the sun up into bed. Then Monty hears a loud groaning and thinks there must be ghosts around. Bella says that's okay because the ghosts are just doing their homework for school. She takes Monty into the ghouls' class, and they meet the little ghouls and help them with their work. But then Monty see a large spider and is convinced he will be eaten. Bella is, once again, reassuring. 'They are too small to eat you...Anyway, everyone knows that spiders prefer takeaway food.' And so they help the spiders take their takeaway food home. Bella's remarkable imagination helps Monty lose his fear of the dark, but when they get home and are tucked up once again in bed, Monty finds the one thing that Bella is fearful of - a burst balloon! So maybe Bella isn't quite so fearless after all. Jolly pictures and a really imaginative approach to fears make this great fun. And the solutions to being afraid are so childlike and unusual that children may well take up the suggestions. I like the idea that the sun goes to bed at night and that spiders like takeaways, and I suspect children will too.