Title: How to Make a Pet Monster: Flummox
Author: Lili Wilkinson
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Publisher: Allen and Unwin/Albert Street Press
Published: 1st June 2021
Synopsis: Doesn’t everyone want their very own pet monster?
A fantastically readable, gloriously funny and collectable new junior fiction series.
Have you ever wanted a pet monster?
If you are like me, the answer is NO, because you think monsters don’t exist.
If you are like Willow, the answer is YES DEFINITELY.
Willow and I found an ancient spell book called the BIGGE BOKE OF FETCHING MONSTERS, which shows you how to make REAL MONSTERS. We made HODGEPODGE, who’s a bit furry and a bit stinky. He’s my best friend.
Willow wants to make a best friend, but I’m worried. Now that I know monsters are REAL, what if this new one is REALLY dangerous?
Willow and Archie are back in their scary house, with their recently married parents and the monster they created in the last book, Hodgepodge, who was threatened by a rare animal collector who is still after the monster. Willow is determined to make her own monster now, and they’re about to begin when an unannounced visitor, Annabelle-Rose, appears. She comes across as overly perfect, annoying and downright obnoxious, demanding immediate attention from Willow and Artie, and causing havoc as they try to create a monster. But when things start to go wrong, and Annabelle-Rose interferes and manages to draw Willow and Artie’s parents into her web of deception, and where will it end? And what is Annabelle-Rose hiding? Can she be trusted, or will she ultimately betray Artie and Willow?
The second in this fun series sees new siblings adjusting to their new home, and life with each other and Hodgepodge. It celebrates family, science, friendship and what makes us unique, as well as believing in something that we might not necessarily believe in until we see them for ourselves. I loved that Willow and Artie were polar opposites of each other, yet they get along, and stick together. Artie has a higher moral compass than Willow and is perhaps what keeps her grounded…at least for a little bit, until she gets that cheeky glint in her eye.
This fun-filled book explores making new friends, and finding ways to compromise, as well as learning to deal with people and things we do not like – or finding out more about someone than we know initially, proving that we don’t always know wis going on in someone else’s life, nor do we know how they live and maybe they are lonely and need us as a friend – a little like this book, because on the surface, it felt like Annabelle-Rose was a brat but there is much more to her than meets the eye that we can all relate to: loneliness.
This is a story filled with magi, wonder and whimsy that forms part of what will be a fun and fantastical series for newly independent readers seeking that next step between books that take them from learning to read, to reading alone. But these are also fun for confident readers, combining fun, active illustrations with a bouncy text that vibrates and dances off the page, creating a world that we can escape into when we need a break from everything we are facing right now.
This fun book will entertain, build reading vocabulary and confidence, as well as teach kids about getting along, and sharing with others, such as new friends and siblings that will charm readers of all ages. It is delightful and funny, and one that I think will be read and reread for many years to come by voracious and eager young readers.