Benita and the Night Creatures

by Mariana Llanos (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Benita loves to read in bed but keeps getting interrupted by a whistling Tunche, a scary Supay and other spooky creatures from Peruvian lore. To the creatures' disbelief, Benita is so absorbed by her book that she's not the least bit scared of them.

This humorous celebration of bedtime reading puts a global twist on taking the "scary" out of monsters.

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Kirkus Reviews

An imaginative peek at colorful monsters.

Publishers Weekly

Creatures of Peruvian folklore cannot tear Benita, a pigtailed, red-bespectacled child portrayed with light brown skin, away from a book in Llanos's humorous volume from a Peruvian creative team. After Benita finds a book "to devour," ghost-resembling Cuco bounces in Benita's window and yells "Boo!"--to which Benita, never looking up, responds "Bless you" and hands over a tissue. After gathering reinforcements, Cuco offers another shout, while air-freezing pal Tunche lets out a hearty "FEEEENNN!" Annoyed by the racket, Benita demands quiet. When wailing purple spirit Supay joins the group the following night, Benita explodes: "DON'T YOU SEE I'M READING A BOOK?" Following an emergency meeting, the creatures decide they want in, and Benita obliges, kicking off a most unusual storytime. Using mostly black backgrounds and a zingy palette, illustrating duo Cocoretto put their own bold folk art stamp on creatures of lore, while play-by-play text from Llanos establishes the child's single-minded pursuit of reading and the beasts' comic surprise. Contextualizing back matter and creators' notes conclude. Ages 4-9. (Sept.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Mariana Llanos

Mariana Llanos is a Peruvian-born writer of children's literature. Her books include Luca's Bridge, Eunice and Kate, Kutu the Tiny Inca Princess, and Poesia Alada. In 2017, she was selected as the Best Latino Artist by the Hispanic Arts Council of Oklahoma, where she resides. She is a member of the SCBWI and currently serves as the Inclusion and Diversity Chair for their Oklahoma Chapter. When she's not writing, she enjoys baking, spending time with her children, and visiting schools to ignite the love for reading.

Mariana Ruiz Johnson is an award-winning children's book illustrator and author. She likes to explore the narrative power of illustration and the relationship between images and words. Using vibrant palettes and different patterns and textures, she combines traditional techniques and digital media. Mariana lives in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina with her husband and two children.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Barefoot Books
Publication date
September 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV047000 - Juvenile Fiction | Books & Libraries
JUV052000 - Juvenile Fiction | Monsters
JUV012070 - Juvenile Fiction | Legends, Myths, Fables | Caribbean & Latin American
Library of Congress categories

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