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Three Reasons to Read: How to Return A Monster

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Author: Charlotte Offsay

Illustrator: Rea Zhai

Publisher: Beaming Books

Year: September, 2021

If your grown-ups bring home a small monster, er, baby, don't panic. Just send it back!

JACKET COPY: In this hilarious and heartfelt book about sibling relationships, a girl can't believe it when her parents bring home a drooling, screaming, grabbing monster. She hatches a plan to send it back where it came from, with hilarious results...and along the way, she learns that maybe monsters--and baby siblings--aren't so bad after all.

While this book is not new to me (I was a mentor for it, as well as provided book jacket copy), I truly enjoyed reading it again for this review! Re-readability is key for most children's books and this book offers that up, and more.

Here's what my back cover blurb says about the book:

"A fun, funny and inspiring read. How to Return a Monster shares the important reminder that all relationships need time, whether you are dealing with a monster or a baby."

But if the accessible subject matter, how-to format and heartwarming theme haven't convinced you, here are three more reasons to read this wonderful book:

  1. The main character is one that kids will be able to identify with. She keeps the story moving forward with engaging action and humorous attempts to solve her story problem.

  2. Humor -- the humor in this book makes a sometimes difficult topic fun and understandable, and opens the door to a greater understanding of others around us.

  3. Importantly, although the main character's flaw manifests in some intolerance for the new attention stealer in the house, she does come around and ultimately models good behavior for the reader. This provides a heartfelt and satisfying resolution.

BONUS: Engaging and sweet, accessible art by Rea Zhai, with lots of little details for kids to enjoy!

How to Return a Monster is a keeper! It's also a perfect gift for that new big sister or big brother!

Purchase How to Return a Monster here:

This is Charlotte's second book. Feel free to check out The Big Beach Clean-up and A Grandma's Magic (coming March 1, 2022).

REVIEW BY: Lynne Marie

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten -- art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School -- art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019) and Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World -- art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project -- art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press / CAW Publishing, November 2021) and American Pie -- art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press 2022).

She’s also the Owner and Administrator of both and, as well as a long-time Travel Agent with (! She's been a Cybil's Judge in the Fiction Picture Books and Board Books category since 2016. Recently, she's been handed the ReFoReMo torch from Kirsti Call and Carrie Charley Brown, which will return under it's new name March On With Mentor Texts in March, 2022 ( You can join her at her weekly Tinker and Talk Book Chat here: Tinker and Talk Book Chat by The Picture Book Mechanic | Facebook

When she’s not searching for story ideas all over the globe, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. Visit her at Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland of



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