Monstrous Maud: Spooky Sports Day by A B Saddlewick
|Monstrous Maud: Spooky Sports Day by A B Saddlewick|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: After a fine series opener, this episode of the human girl trapped into pretending to be a monster already shows the franchise might not have the legs to come in first place.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: May 2012|
|Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books|
Quite how do you make a sports day spooky? Well, in this topsy-turvy world, you don't have to do much. It's nasty enough for vampires to be competing in the daylight, it's not fair on monsters with tails or for mummies with bandages to trip over – and it's just a bit too girly, prim and proper – and a bit too pink, for monsters. Monstrous Maud, of course, isn't a monster, but does go to a special school dedicated to them. How can she hope to train her best friend, who is quite hopeless at any sporting activity, and also manage to keep her monstrous disguise up when the starting gun is fired?
After a clever opening episode to this series, setting up the very contrary world of Maud, this is the first example of how the cycle will continue – self-contained, read-in-any-order, instances of school life given the twist unique to this set of books. Maud has by now found out how to make the monsters she shares her lessons with scared, but she is still afraid of being found out as a human. Being human, she seems to have a lot more empathy when it comes to her inept friend and his inability to compete well at games, but it’s not the only difference between her and the other pupils at her school, making it a great secret she really does need to keep. She is also given a stereotyped school enemy to reinforce this.
It won't be a secret however that this example of the series doesn't go nearly as far along the inventive route of the opener. There is a relish to the plot, as more and more human interest interferes with the plans for the sports day, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't mean we get surprises. We don't get the entertaining switch of the human girl in the school of monsters forced to be more monstrous than the current intake. That in a sentence sounds fun, and in book form, was. This just highlights Maud's ongoing dilemma, of being a human in an island of monsters in a human world yet not allowed to be known as such.
Still, while we have less to empathise with the heroine over, and less wish to take our place in her shoes, we do get a comical look at the life of the PE teacher in a school for monsters – a ghostly knight, using his own disembodied head as a ball. Maud's school still remains a quirky place to pass the time, but if this series dials back on the genre inventiveness, and just sets its main character on a razor edge between the two worlds, it could well fail. I did say at the time the first book showed a great level of cleverness in setting up the scenario and surprising people at the same time, but this surprised in the lack of depth to the monster world, and if anything had too much of the pesky human to be quite as successful.
I must still thank the publishers for my review copy.
I'm Dougal Trump... and it's not my fault! by Dougal Trump is a longer, but very enjoyable read for members of this age bracket.
You can read more book reviews or buy Monstrous Maud: Spooky Sports Day by A B Saddlewick at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Monstrous Maud: Spooky Sports Day by A B Saddlewick at Amazon.com.
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