Tag Archives: Monsters

Malamander – Thomas Taylor

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Walker Books Australia

 

ISBN: 9781406386288

May 2019
Australian RRP: $17.99
New Zealand RRP: $19.99

malamander

Ok, so I’m a bit slow getting to this one (cue: moving house etc) but it is one not to be missed. Two orphans are brought together in the Grand Nautilus Hotel in a slightly odd town known as Eerie-on-Sea. Herbert Lemon is the Lost-and-Founder at said hotel but when a strange girl arrives in his Lost-and-Foundry closely pursued by a scary individual with a boat hook hand he is completely perplexed and at a loss.  But Herbie is adept and not one to be easily daunted – well, actually perhaps he is – but he can rise to the occasion. And rise he does, with gusto as he connects with Violet Parma who is the pursuant of the frightening Boat Hook Man. No one knows what happened to Violet’s parents who mysteriously disappeared from the hotel twelve years previously but it seems that their absence has something to do with the legendary myth of the Malamander – a fearsome sea monster with a hidden secret.

Herbie and Violet are not entirely sure of each other but as the narrative continues they become a formidable team facing strange and powerful opposition but also bolstered by surprising allies.

With regular notes of humour the pair manages to baffle their way through and against their unpleasant (to say the least) opponents in their mission to not only rescue the Malamander’s fabled egg but to uncover the truth about Violet’s parents.

This is essentially a fun read despite the odious villains and young readers from around 10 years upwards will thoroughly enjoy their expedition to Eerie-on-Sea. This is loaded with underlying themes of trust and self-belief and both Herbie and Violet are just thoroughly likeable characters, even as they act in not quite so likeable ways.

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Monster Party – The Children from Rawa with Alison Lester & Jane Godwin

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Magabala Books

September 2018

ISBN:9781925360554

RRP: $17.99

Described by the publisher as an ‘explosion of fun and pure joy’ this is a delightfully riotous and exuberant picture book full of colour and humour. The Rawa Community School is on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert and the children there helped to write the text along with Alison and Jane and provided all the cut-out illustrations. What an experience it must have been for all as these two celebrated authors worked alongside the middle school students drawing out all their creativity and their own Martu cultural knowledge.

Some very crazy looking monsters emerge from Dora Lake giving the children a little scare before going completely bonkers all around the place, even to school which completely disrupts a good day’s learning!

Loaded with rhyme, rhythm and some wonderful onomatopoeia cleverly highlighted in large colourful fonts, this will be a real hit with little ones either to read by themselves or as an enthusiastic read-aloud.

Highly recommended for little readers from around toddlers upwards!

Dragon Apocalypse: City of Monsters #3 – DC Green

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DC

Sep 2018

Ford Street Publishing

9781925272680

AUD$19.95, NZD$24.99

 

DC, you have completely smashed it with this thrilling conclusion to the trilogy – darker, edgier and gripping!  I’ve watched with such joy as the Dead Gang monster misfits have grown from their funky beginnings to truly kickass warriors united in their mission to save not themselves but their world and all the myriad creatures who inhabit it.

The gang continues their mission of dragon egg rescue after their narrow escapes from Dr Franken’s torturous facility and amidst ongoing attack from all sides. The loss of Zorg and Jaakie are a real blow but they manage to keep their spirits high. Stoker, the vampire-formerly-known-as-Prince-Robert heads for the Isle of Giants with a human girl acquired for her mechanical ability, Roa and the enigmatic and cranky Erica, royal ogre bodyguard and the giant skunk aniwye (not the friendliest of creatures). Their goal is to protect Empress Kalthazar until the rest of the Dead Gang arrive with help.

The remainder of the group escape with the dragon egg they have acquired by a narrow margin and are completely taken aback when the egg hatches and little fin-flapping Karamas immediately becomes an important addition to their team. An encounter with the living giant heart of Monstro City, disarming ancient nuclear weapons, deflecting rogue ogres and taming clone Prince Robbie are almost all in a day’s work for this mob. However their encounter with the fearsome and treacherous Cyborg Warlord is almost a disaster for them all.

Will the gang survive intact to effect the rescue and revitalisation of the great Kalthazar?  Will they be able to save not only themselves but Monstro City and, indeed, the entire world? More to the point – will Bruce, gnarly sexy spider-dude avoid being munched by a prospective bride and will PT EVER tell Greta just how he feels about her?

It’s like a mash-up of Tolkien, teen horror movies and Kotter’s sweat hogs on steroids! The addition of some excellent illustrations really enhance the narrative with the truly warped visualisations of the chief characters along with a nicely detailed map.

Again there are plenty of laughs throughout the tensely dramatic plot as well as moments of poignancy and important themes of loyalty, friendship, honour and resilience.

I have loved this series immensely and while I was of the understanding that this was to be a trilogy I won’t be disappointed to meet the characters again as they age to what one can only imagine to be an equally crazy adulthood!

Get onto it if you haven’t already! Your readers from around ten years upwards who relish a little bit of scariness along with a whole lot of great humour will love it.

 

 

 

 

Wormwood Mire: A Stella Montgomery Intrigue – Judith Rossell

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Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780733333019

ISBN 10: 073333301X

Imprint: ABC Books – AU

On Sale: 10/24/2016

Pages: 288

List Price: 22.99 AUD

Warning: This review will be chockers with fulsome praise and expressions of delight.

From the point I took this book from its package two days ago I was in love with it.

We know that you can indeed judge a book by its cover often and looking at the beautiful artwork of this novel and stroking its textured surface was like holding a plush box of chocolates and greedily anticipating the contents.

And I was not disappointed. A gorgeously bound book with wonderful creamy pages, full page illustrations, embellishments and font all in a forest green this just oozes style and superiority.

After Stella’s first adventure (Withering-by-Sea) the nasty Aunts are icily furious and ponder what to do with such an unsuitable child.  They grasp the opportunity to send her to the old family home where their cousin is going to have his two (also motherless) children taught by a governess (hah! Expense-free solution) and so Stella is packed off to Wormwood Mire, a decaying mansion set in huge overgrown grounds. Her initial trepidation is relieved when she meets Strideforth and Hortense, her two cousins, both of whom are quirky in their own ways. She is further reassured by Miss Araminter the governess who is at the very least eccentric but extremely kind and sensitive.

Before she departed the gloomy house of Aunts Stella had discovered an old photograph which she has identified as being of her mother at Wormwood Mire with two babies in an old-fashioned pram – two babies? Did she once have a sister or twin? She is determined to solve the mystery of this while she is in the crumbling family ruin.

But Wormwood Mire holds many secrets. The children’s ancestor Wilberforce Montgomery who built the house was a traveller and collector of the curious and bizarre; objects, plants and animals. And there is something all the villagers are terrified by but won’t talk about. What is it and will the children be able to discover the menace – and survive it?

What a sensational read this is! The narrative flows perfectly from eddy to whirlpool to backwater and the reader is carried along effortlessly. For me it would have been a one sitting read had I not had to get up early the next morning. As it was I had to save the last few chapters but quickly polished them off, savouring every word.

Stella is indomitable – a Mighty Girl in every sense – she has courage and intelligence and empathy. There is also the mysterious power she possesses. She is a perfect foil for Strideforth, the essential scientific mind (at times with less than perfect success) and strange wild little Hortense, who is more often than not like the little creatures she adopts.

I cannot recommend this highly enough – of course, those who loved Judith’s Withering-by-Sea will be eager to get their hands on it – but for those who have not yet been introduced to Stella and her hidden otherworldly talent, it will also be a joy to read.

Fright Club – Ethan Long

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Bloomsbury Publishing Australia

Published: 01-09-2016

ISBN: 9781681190433

Imprint: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

RRP: $9.99   –

This is one of the cutest board books I’ve seen for ages. Forget about sweet and pretty – this one is just in time for Halloween and a fun story for little people.

The local Fright Club led by Vladimir the vampire are busily practising their ‘ghoulish faces, scary moves, chilling sounds’ in their clubhouse when there comes a knock at the door. A sweet fluffy bunny asks if she can join the club and is promptly rejected. The monsters continue with their very amateurish spookiness and there is another knock at the door. This time the cute bunny is accompanied by her foxy lawyer citing discrimination about being excluded and pretty soon all the woodland creatures are picketing the Fright Club. Of course eventually the monsters have to give in and let them all join – and who knew? Those little animals can be quite scary when they want to be!

This is just great fun with a load of good devices to talk about if you did want to share it with older ones; speech bubbles, onomatopoeia etc but basically it is a just a hoot for Halloween.

Check out the trailer here.

Goblin Mafia Wars [City of Monsters #2] – DC Green

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Ford St Publishing

April 2016

ISBN 9781925272208

RRP $18.95

You would think that as a royal hume dude your life would be one of complete luxury not to mention stressfree. Think again! PT (Prince Thomas of Monstro City) and his Dead Gang friends are embroiled even deeper in nasty situations and deadly – or is that undeadly? – circumstances; their quest to find the eggs of the last dragon, Kalthazar,  as well as trying to avert complete goblin civil war and annihilation of all other species, thwarting the evil plans of the horrendous Dr Franken, removing the usurper Prince Robbie and just a few other issues.

Following the toxic altercation at Fire Mountain with the goblins’ attack and Kalthazar’s limping escape to the Isle of Giants, the Gang minus friend Zorg begin a trek which first of all sees them navigating through the Dead Zone. Yowsers! This is one extremely bogus territory where even monsters like the Dead Gang are in very real danger of being exterminated – not least of all by their erstwhile compadre Scarab, the super-strong mummy gal.  She’s kind of ticked off about Zorg and decides that PT in particular is totes responsible.

Surviving this and then a very unnerving train ride back to Monstro City, the Dead Gang faces yet more monstrous mayhem. While PT manages to conduct some very delicate negotiations– and some highly skilful bluffing – with the rival goblin factions (think Sopranos style goblins!), his plans are sabotaged by the appearance of a chocolate popcorn gobbling older/younger idiot savant (without the savant) brother Prince Robbie. Rumour has it he has been cryogenically preserved by famous Dr Franken for the past ten years and not in fact stolen by the Vampire Queen. Looks like vampiric Stoker is not PT’s brother after all – or is he?

And just what is Dr Franken’s dastardly involvement with the goblin factions and the mentally deranged Prince Robbie? How did he get that dragon egg? And what the web is with all those freaky arms? Trapped in small cages in the evil doctor’s ‘hospital’ things look grim for this grimmest – and often grimiest- of gangs, with no apparent hope of escape. Spoiler alert – yet they do along with an about-to-hatch dragon egg!

DC Green has provided readers with another rip-snorter yarn about these highly idiosyncratic monster teens who have their own methods of solving problems. Their combined abilities and wacky take on situations along with their staunch support of each other prove more than a match for their adversaries.

High humour rating and all the excitement of fast-paced action will prove yet again to be a winner with readers from around 12 and up.

If you missed the first volume you MUST go and get it! Can’t wait for the next instalment – write faster DC!

Oh and PS – completely buzzed about that quote on the back cover!!

 

 

The Little Shop of Monsters – R. L. Stine. Illustrated by Marc Brown

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monsters

Hachette Australia

  • ISBN:9780316348522
  • Publication date:25 Aug 2015
  • Page count:48
  • Imprint:Little, Brown Young Readers USA
  • RR $14.99

So R. L. Stine drove us all crazy over the past decade or so with endless Goosebumps books – but hey! They got the kids reading didn’t they?

Since then his books have moved into an older readership and I have observed the success of these with boys and girls in lower secondary particularly.

Now – look out! – he’s moving into the Junior Fiction picture book market with this very entertaining book about some very crazy monsters.

Yes of course there are lots of kids (and let’s face it, some adults) who get a bit thingy about monsters but this is exactly what is needed to take the sting out of the unknown scariness. Though referred to as a shop the illustrations make this seem more like a rescue/shelter facility for the said monsters and as the children inspect each variety, there is a deliciously descriptive explanation of each.

Any child who is harbouring a fear of unknown creepy monsters under the bed will giggle at monsters like Yucky and Mucky or Teaser and Squeezer – and though it is revealed that these monsters are smelly, vile and horrible – we can be quite safe as we check out each and every one. Then we can run away quite safely monster-free!

I envisage that this would be a very popular read-aloud with many of our younger students. There are some juicy interactive moments such as guessing the name etc which will delight the thinkers in the audience.

Have a lot of fun with this one – I know we will!

Click here for a trailer narrated by Jack Black!