Will Allen, the main character in Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency: Initiations by Jason Edwards, has a BIG problem. He is convinced there are monsters in his bedroom at night; but no one believes him, except his trusted friend Jeannine. Because he is small, Will also has bully problems. One day when Will is on the bus to school, he finds a business card in his backpack advertising Bigelow Hawkins, a “first class” Monster Detective. With help from Bigelow and Jeannine, Will tries to face his fears and defeat his “monsters,” both real and imaginary. Then Will meets Timmy, a boy in Will’s school who is having a hard time dealing with his parents’ separation. When Will tries to defeat Timmy’s “monster” on his own, they both realize that the only way to get rid of a “monster” for good is to understand and confront your own fears.
In Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency: Initiations, Jason Edwards does a great job of taking tough issues that kids face, like bullying, parental problems, and sibling rivalry, and incorporating them into a fun “monster detective” story. This book will inspire kids to face their own fears and conquer their problems. Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency: Initiations is a funny, fast read, but it has several important lessons. It teaches kids that size doesn’t matter, friends are necessary to succeed, and girls can do just as much as boys. The author even includes “Tips and Tricks for Fighting Monsters” (real life suggestions for kids to use) in the back of the book. I highly recommend this book for children ages 7-9; younger readers would enjoy it as a read-aloud.