A monster ate my mum is a children’s book, written and self published by Jen Faulkner (which I personally am very impressed by!) It’s aim is to explain post natal depression (or depression) to children who may be wondering why their mum seems so sad…
I reviewed the e-book, and was really impressed by how easy it was to download. It took just seconds to open, and I opened it on my iPad both in PDF and in iBooks, both were really easy and quick to open, and has the beenfit of always having a book to hand when out and about 🙂
I want to start by saying that my mum had depression when I was 11 after my little sister was born. There were a lot of reasons, but my mum really struggled to cope emotionally for a couple of years. I’ve never discussed that time with her properly, but I do remember a couple of things really strongly. I remember wanting to help and not knowing how. I remember thinking that if I could just do / say the right thing it would make my mum feel better. And I remember times when I wondered if she would ever feel better. As a grown up, I know that my mum did ‘find her smile’ again, and I think that those times had some really positive effects on me – it taught me empathy, and taught me how much courage it can sometimes take to get through a day.
Now, back to the book. Because of my experiences I was really keen to review this book. I have to say that this book was brilliant from my perspective. It looks fantastic – the illustrations really stand out, and the cover really draws attention to the book. I love the watercolour effect, and the colours used.I like the simplicity of the illustrations, allowing the words to take centre stage.
I feel that this book makes a lot of sense, and can explain a lot of complex issues in a simple way, but is also positive in that it explains that the sadness won’t last forever. I think that it is a great starting point to an open conversation between a mum and child who are in this situation, and where the mum is struggling to explain her feelings.
I love the rhyming – it deals with some quite serious themes, and I felt that the rhyming just made it more gentle. I think that it could help children to come to talk about some of the topics in a gradual, gentle way. And it could allow a mum to explain some of what she is feeling to her children f she can’t find the words.
It reads really well out loud when read to a child. And Amelia was able to repeat some of the sections – after just one reading I would start it then pause, and Amelia could fill the gap quickly.) to me, that’s always a sign that she’s really listening, and that the words make sense to her because she remembers them.
– Amelia said that she likes this book, but doesn’t like the monsters because they ate the mum.
– Amelia asked why the monsters ate the mums smile.
– Amelia asked at the end if that means the mum is happy again now.
– Amelia took the book very literally (but then, she is only nearly 4).
– I was asked at the end of the book if I could read it again, straight afterwards. This hasn’t happened with any other book. I think maybe its so that she could process some of the ideas in the book. I asked Amelia after that if she would like to read it again another day and she said she would.
– Amelia noticed that on one illustration there is a green monster that is nowhere else in the book.
I wold highly recommend this book, either the e-book or paper version. If you would like to purchase this book, you can do so here: a monster ate my mum. The e-book is only 99p and the paper version is £5.99 – both bargains for what is such a lovely book.