The world of babysitting has never seen this much fun, excitement, and under your bed scariness. Who knew those monsters lurking in the minds of preschoolers would make a great idea for a middle grade series.

Kelly is thirteen and trying to earn enough money to go to a summer camp she hopes will be a first step in not being invisible to her classmates. She reluctantly takes on the job of a babysitter on Halloween and sure enough it’s not a good night. Little Jacob gets carted off by monsters he always claimed were lurking in his bedroom. Kelly doesn’t know what to do until Jacob’s regular babysitter arrives to help out. She is a part of a babysitter society whose purpose is to rid the world of these scary nighttime creatures.

Filled with adventure, a few scary scenes, and humor, the story is told through Kelly’s hesitant and often comical narration. There’s middle grade angst at every turn as Kelly comes to grips with her own self and how anyone can shine if given the chance.

Perfect for fifth grade on up. More is on the way in this three book series including a future movie. As a former babysitter myself it will be fun to follow Kelly as she hopefully becomes a full fledged member of this unique secret society of babysitters.



When middle schooler Kelly Ferguson’s Halloween plans switch from party-going to babysitting, she thinks the scariest part of her night will be the death of her social life. But then Baby Jacob gets kidnapped by the Boogeyman’s minions and Kelly learns there’s a whole lot more to childcare than free snacks and Netflix. Like chasing shadow monsters, drop-kicking Toadies, and mastering monster-fighting moves like the Naptime Headlock and Playground Punch.

Now, with the help of an ancient handbook and a secret society of butt-kicking babysitters, Kelly sets out to destroy the Boogeyman before he brings Jacob’s nightmares to life. But when the monsters’ trail leads to her school’s big Halloween bash, Kelly will have to prove she can save the world—without totally embarrassing herself in front of her friends.

Packed with black-and-white illustrations and insider secrets from the world of monster hunting, A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is full of tricks, treats, and terrifying twists!


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Kelly Ferguson, the main character. She’s an every day type of girl trying to find a niche in the beginning of her teen years. Smart, heroic, and stuck in that weird time in everyone’s life known as middle school.
  2. The fun images throughout give life to the monsters and are a well done addition to the text.
  3. I always worry when I get close to the end of book one in a planned series. Will there be so many plot points unresolved you feel cheated? Certainly not here. There’s one thread dangling, but the rest are wrapped up neatly.
  4. Although set on Halloween night the story can be enjoyed any time of the year especially if you love a thrilling climatic end.
  5. The secondary cast of characters leave you with wanting to more about their past. Great possibilities lie ahead in book two and three.


“How do you know all this stuff?” I whispered, gnawing on the end of my sleeve so hard, it threatened to unravel.

“I’m a babysitter. It’s what I do.” Liz cracked open a fluorescent green can of Monster energy drink and downed it in a few heaving gulps. She never took her eyes away from the baby.

“I mean…is every sitter like you?”

“Like what? A butt-kickin’ UFC warrior?” She crushed the can in her fist.

“A deranged psychopath,” I said.

ABOUT Joe Ballarini (from Joe’s Web Site)

This guy is the author of A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting and the writer of the movie, Dance of the Dead and the upcoming My Little Pony: the Movie (oh, yeah!). Joe lives in Los Angeles with his wife, their son, and two rescue dogs.


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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12 Responses to A BABYSITTER’S GUIDE TO MONSTER HUNTING for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Sounds like a fun, but kind of scary story. The best kind!

  2. I love this idea! Such a great twist on babysitting 🙂

  3. Unusual and scary twist on babysitting. But, it sounds like a fun read for MG readers. I especially like the reasons you enjoyed this book.

  4. I always thold the grownups there were monsters in there. Now maybe they’ll believe!

  5. Halloween is a perfect holiday for any scariness! Great story backdrop.

  6. Butt-kicking babysitters. Hahahahaha! Great review. I’m going to be getting this one. Thanks, Greg!

  7. danielle hammelef says:

    I’m headed right now to my library’s web page and seeing if I can request this book.

  8. This book sounds amazing! The plot seems so unique, I’ll definitely try this! Thanks so much for the review!

  9. Sue Kooky says:

    Oh my gosh that sounded like your average 13 year old mindset but not your average plot. XD I love this story idea! And having all the loose threads tied up is definitely something I appreciate almost more than anything else.

  10. Andrea Mack says:

    Oooh! I love this concept! There aren’t enough good scary books for middle grade!

  11. Violet Tiger says:

    Sounds like an imaginative story that many readers will love to dive into. I’m glad you liked the protagonist. Thanks for your review!


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