Brady and the Backyard Monster


Children - Picture Book
32 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Author PATTIE MANENTE is passionate about helping others develop self-care tools, especially the youngest learners.
Throughout her professional career in healthcare, and private hypnotherapy practice, she has helped others of all ages develop self-awareness and resiliency, just like puppy Brady. He learns to overcome his worries about the backyard monster and enjoy backyard playtime. Pattie resides in California with her husband and their playful Labrador retriever. Learn more about Pattie at https://pattiemanente.com.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Brady and the Backyard Monster is a children's picture book written by Pattie Manente and illustrated by Olena Kharkovenko. Brady, a cute Labrador puppy, ventures outside to play and chase squirrels when he hears the familiar scritching sound of the monster. Nervous and scared, Brady struggles to move around and explore. One by one, his friends, the frog, and the bird, try to convince him that there are no monsters and encourage him to overcome his fears. Eventually, it's Gutsy the gopher who tells Brady to think of something to calm himself whenever he is scared. Feeling confident, Brady is ready to face his fears head-on when he sees the monster. He finds that the monster isn't what he imagined it to be. Now, Brady and his friends continue to play in his favorite place.

A fun-filled picture book that teaches children how to overcome one's fears, Brady and the Backyard Monster is a must-read for kids. Author Pattie Manente tells a delightful tale about an adorable Labrador puppy who finds his courage with the help of his friends and shows tremendous bravery in facing his innermost fears. Manente's story imparts the valuable lesson that sometimes our fears are nowhere near as scary as we imagine them to be. Olena Kharkovenko's colorful illustrations make the tale all the more engaging and immersive to read. I had a wonderful time reading Brady and the Backyard Monster. This is a fun adventure book for kids below the age of eight.

Jamie Michele

Brady and the Backyard Monster, written by Pattie Manente and illustrated by Olena Khakovenko, is a children's picture book that revolves around a young pup with a common fear. Brady has gone out into his backyard hoping to play. He loves to chase squirrels, dig in the dirt, and take naps in the sun. Unfortunately, Brady is unable to do any of this because when he looks around all he can see is what he thinks is a monster. First, it's the shadow of a frog that quickly emerges and teaches Brady breathing techniques to help calm him. Next, the shadow of a bird reveals itself to be an actual bird, who tells Brady to give his fear wings and let it fly away. When a gopher's shadow is broken by the real thing. Brady is taught that giving himself a brave name—Brave Brady—is helpful. All of these are put to the test when a shadow that is bigger and scarier than the rest appears on the fence.

As an adult who grew up with an intense fear of the dark, Brady and the Backyard Monster is exactly the type of book I would have benefited from when I was a terrified child. In fact, my fear of shadows was so great that I didn't want a nightlight as it only made them worse. Now as a parent, I have the good fortune of authors like Pattie Manente and her sweet Brave Brady to navigate issues with my own children today. The story is simple enough for even my youngest reader to take on herself, and she was especially happy when it came to saying, “Ribbity, razzle-dazzle, neighbor...!” The illustrations by Olena Khakovenko are a fantastic blend of realism in full color and more muted background tones that allow for Brady, his yard pals, and those big, bad shadows to really pop. Together, Manente and Khakovenko have crafted a perfect addition to our bedtime reading routine. Very highly recommended.

Asher Syed

Brady and the Backyard Monster is a children's self-awareness and self-care picture book with the aim of using the story of a terrified puppy to aid young readers in learning how to tame their fears on their own. Author Pattie Manente and illustrator Olena Khakovenko begin the book by introducing the little dog named Brady as he goes into his backyard for playtime. The idea is short-lived as somewhere in the yard Brady thinks he sees a monster, which isn't immediately revealed to the reader. He is naturally very afraid and upset that his plans have been thwarted. He also thinks he sees other smaller monsters but they are only the shadows of helpful neighbors: a frog, a bird, and a gopher. Each provides Brady with coping techniques to combat fear and in using them all, Brady is able to do exactly that.

Educating children on ways they can effectively reduce the anxiety that originates from the fear of things they do not yet understand is the first crucial step to learning how to cope with the same throughout the rest of their lives. The frog encourages Brady to take soothing breaths and count through them, and then a kindly bird says, “Put wings on the fear and let it fly up, up, and away.” The combination of deep breathing and visualization is part of the quieting response method and is highly effective. The third visitor is a gopher who teaches Brady how to use affirmation to combat self-defeating thoughts. Cumulatively, all three recommendations have a positive outcome and Pattie Manente expertly weaves profoundly important coping mechanisms in a tidy little children's book. Brady succeeds in facing his fear by using quieting, breathing, and affirmations, which is the real, albeit nuanced, point of the story. And what is a picture book without artwork? Olena Khakovenko breathes life into Brady's day with bold illustrations in a comforting palette that suit the story perfectly. I'd give Brady and the Backyard Monster a whole bucket full of stars if I could.

Jennie More

Brady and the Backyard Monster by Pattie Manente is the story of a puppy named Brady who goes to play in his beautiful backyard. He is afraid after he thinks he has seen a monster because of a shadow that appeared against the fence. Each time he sees a new shadow, other animals he knows convince him that there is no backyard monster and then teach him what they do when they’re afraid. The frog teaches him a breathing exercise, the bird teaches him to attach wings to his fear and watch it fly away, and the gopher advises him to give himself a gutsy name to help him feel courageous. After all the advice, Brady sees a giant monster and decides to apply all the guidance he received from his friends to conquer his fear and finally get down to playing.

Brady and the Backyard Monster by Pattie Manente is a brilliant storybook for children. It is creative, original, and vibrant. Manente brings fear into focus, a critical discussion to have with children, and provides them with quick and easy measures they can take to deal with their anxiety. Most importantly, once they’ve dealt with their fear, they can return to playing, which is the best part of life. The story is relatable to any child, and Manente presents it in humorously with the cutest puppy that will keep children engaged in Brady’s story of overcoming his fear. The illustrations are stunning and capture your attention, complementing the resourceful and encouraging message of the story beautifully. I love this storybook!