Bashertaur (Monster Makers) by Ali Sparkes

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Bashertaur (Monster Makers) by Ali Sparkes

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The boys that can create monsters with their pencils, imagination and some magic encounter the horrors of girls in pretty dresses, which are a bit harder to rub out. A superlative little read for the little fantasists in your life.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1407102924

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You might have worked out for yourself that there is some danger in being able to draw monsters, then bring them to life. Not only the peril caused by their stinky farts or their ability to be seen by everyone else who might wonder why electrical beasties are sapping the village's power supply, either – they might just happen to squish you.

However this book shows that however bright and breezy and mildly risky the world of imaginative monster creation is, there is a further threat – something else even more dangerous, more insidious – the female schoolgirl.

I'll let you know that I know that Freud would have a field day about a young-middle-aged female author writing such boyish, boy-friendly fiction as this series, and get on with the crux of the matter – I think this is an outstanding little read. It takes the heroes nicely from a perfectly everyday reality to a height of fantastical fiction, and it all rattles along with a great narrative flow.

The initial pages might be first-name-overload, but we've read the prior books and recall that Jack and Lewis are the brothers who, along with their aunt's magic mead, can draw anything and bring it to life. I still like them as characters; sure they're quite interchangeable considering one is year five and the other year three, but they don't have to bicker, bully or blunder their way through anything. Gone is the 'Charley says' morality about playing under sandbanks or near pylons. They still race through woods at night, to our enjoyment.

I still have a lovely image of aunt Thea in my mind that is nothing like the illustrations in the series, too, but the most delicious character here is Dahlia, the annoyingly perfect, prissy little madam. She starts this book with a brilliant school record, despite having only arrived weeks before, and a campaign against the more boisterous playground habits of our heroes and their friends. She prefers riding around the school on an imaginary pony, of all things, and feels the need to share. And things, as I say, escalate brilliantly.

In fact it gets to a point when you are really asking yourself why this volume was named after the Bashertaur, and then… cerrikey.

The other wonder is why such a perfect recreation of sort of Midwich Cuckoos / Stepford Children fiction is hidden in the middle of a franchise such as this, but we can only be grateful it is. It is a gem tucked away in a garish sleeve, and despite that should become an innocent pleasure for the parent reading their children's books for an hour or two. It's perfectly PG stuff, and ideal for the under-11s. It's a volume that shouts out, to quote, Cheer and clap, then, you idiots! as it revels in its own brilliance.

To recap, unnecessarily, this is rather strongly recommended. Five stars is the only option.

Another book for confident readers which has recently taken our fancy is Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi.

Buy Bashertaur (Monster Makers) by Ali Sparkes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bashertaur (Monster Makers) by Ali Sparkes at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Bashertaur (Monster Makers) by Ali Sparkes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bashertaur (Monster Makers) by Ali Sparkes at Amazon.com.


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