Are You Afraid Yet? 06/10/10
I'm always on the lookout for new books for my son to read. He has the potential to be as voracious a reader as my husband and I are. He loves monster books and science books. Are You Afraid Yet? by Stephen James O'Meara seemed like the perfect combination of the two but the book fell short for him.
The first thing that put my son off was it's comic book approach. The illustrations are all done in a Roy Lichtenstein, popart inspired, over done comic book style. He's not a comic book reader and is very selective of the few graphic novels he reads.
For my son science inspires the creative process behind the monsters who inhabit Monster City. By itself science is a fascinating subject. He loves a good science book and has a wide range of interests: geology, biology, botany and so forth. Looking for scientific explanations behind well known monster stories is counter intuitive for my son. He felt like the book was saying that science is boring except for when it is inspiring monster stories.
Creativity for my son is central to his love of monsters. The standard monsters with their well established stories and powers seem like copouts. According to him vampires, werewolves, golems and the like are the stuff for people who can't (or don't want to) think up anything new.
After Sean tried and promptly nixed the book, I gave it a go. Although I don't share my son's dismissal of the standard horror creatures I did find the comic book illustrations a distraction rather than an asset. The book also suffers from trying to get too many stories crammed into too short of a book. It's only 80 pages long and it jumps through topics every page or so. There's really not enough time to go into depth with any one topic.