Case, C. (2008). Sophie and the Next-Door Monsters. New York: Walker & Company.
Sophie sees her new neighbors moving in. They're monsters. But (big surprise) her mother doesn't believe her. But if that isn't bad enough, her mom invited the new neighbors over for dinner.
I think I'm going to write a story in which an adult figure actually believes a child when they say there a monsters under the bed/in the closet/in the attic/next door/in the walls, etc. Just for a change of pace. I don't mean to sound like I'm tearing down Sophie and the Next-Door Monsters. I enjoyed it. The illustrations are fun and colorful. One of the book's greatest strengths was the mother character. By all appearances, she seems to be a single parent--a characterization that is normalized by the text (although the monster family still includes both a mother figure and father figure).
This book may be used to help calm fears of monsters or new neighbors. It can also be used to encourage students not to judge others based on their appearances. It also plays to the idea that everyone has a talent, so after reading the book a teacher could ask each student to share a talent of his or her own.
Since Sophie demonstrates some bad manners at the dining table, a teacher could describe what would be more appropriate behavior.
Quotes of Note:
"This is Sophie. She can play a game for four all on her own."
"Sophie has a mother and a cat. They don't draw or play games the way that Sophie does, but she likes them anyway."
"One day, a moving truck pulled up to the house next door. Sophie watched from the window and saw something that she had never seen before.
"There are monsters moving in!"
"Sophie's new neighbors had tentacles and pointy teeth. She didn't care if they were nice, and she said so."