It’s October when our attention turns to ghosts, monsters, skeletons, and all things spooky. Children’s books also take up the theme with lighthearted frights. This is the case with the upcoming children’s book My Brother is a Werewolf by Ray Allen Price, which will be released on October 29. (I previously interviewed him about his book Build With Bricks.)
In My Brother is a Werewolf, Brie is a little girl who asks for a puppy. She gets a baby brother instead. One day, she accidentally turns him into a werewolf. She seeks the help of the mysterious Dr. Plaque, but he has dangerous motives of his own. Brie must rescue her brother and save the day.
This monster story is more fun than scary, which is enhanced by the charming illustrations by Sam Aston and Arin Bray. They also show Brie dealing with the same problems you would expect from having a werewolf puppy, like giving it baths, taking it on walks, and picking up after it.
But the book has one thing that scares many children—divorce.
Brie blames herself and the accidental transformation of her brother for her parents’ divorce. She thinks that if she can reverse the curse, her family would get back together. This is a common belief among children of divorce: they broke their family, and they must fix it. Unfortunately, there are parents who feed that belief.
But Brie’s parents wisely tell her, “We both love you and that will never change. But your dad and I made this decision to divorce long before your brother was turned into a werewolf…This was never your fault, Brie. We never blamed you for any of this. We are so proud of you and never blamed you for any of this. [We] will always support and love you.” This is the message that children of divorce need, and their parents should know how to deliver.
Good children’s books deliver these types of messages. Even when things are difficult and scary, there are people watching out for them. And when things can’t be fixed, like a parent’s marriage, they can be endured. If Brie can adjust to her parents’ divorce and brother’s lycanthropy, so can we.
Horror movies give moral lessons for the real world. So do children’s books about adorable monsters. For these reasons, I recommend Ray Allen Price’s book. My Brother is a Werewolf.