Monster Makers: Stinkermite by Ali Sparkes

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Monster Makers:Stinkermite by Ali Sparkes

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The two boys who can create real-life monsters from their own drawings jokingly create a fart-chaser to snatch a horrid cousin. The joke soon loses all humour – except for us, happily reading this inventive little adventure.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: February 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1407102931

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To start before the beginning; before opening this book I was a little worried how it would pad out. Funny to mention sustaining a quickly-read, large print adventure romp for the 7-10 year old audience, but I did wonder how this second book in the series would manage to have enough contents to match up to the first. With no back-story exposition needed, and only one monster featured, and a whopping two sides longer, wouldn't it be a bit on the weak side?

Well, of course not. The boys, Jack and Lewis, have spent the months since their first adventure and enveloped themselves and the monsters they designed – which magically came alive in the initial book – in a whole world of Tauronia, complete with bizarre geography, wonky buildings and grandiloquent edible landscapes. They're missing their lovely Aunt Thea, and can only wish for more contact with her, and the monsters they think of as friends.

What they want as little contact with as possible, is the horror that is cousin Timmy, and his awful habit of noisy, stinky, bottom burps. And the biggest horror, even worse than finding they have to share their school holidays with Timmy – violent, nasty, comfort-eater, smelly-bottomed – is the horror that might just arise if he learns of a specially invented, fart-chasing Stinkermite. But that isn't going to happen, is it?

I certainly was a little worried about this turn of events. I am fully aware that a fascination with bodily functions is common among young boys, but that doesn't mean I intend to read about it. Luckily here, the low-down eructations are never encouraged, or made a great stink of, tee-hee, and the sound-effects are kept to a minimum, and actually provide a punchline to the nice humour that Ali Sparkes books always manage to feature.

Sure, there is a little back-tracking at the beginning, and a feeling that there will soon be a fully built-up ordered series of these books, as opposed to one where the sequels may be enjoyed in any order. The book remains just as boy-focussed as the first – witness the surreal nightmarish scene in the supermarket aisles, and the fascination with twee frilly dresses as things of horror. So while girls might not appreciate the books as fully as the boys, there is still a rollicking ride to be read – I needn't go into the plot further, for there are surprises, developments and enough weird events and details to provide you with a most enjoyable read.

I wondered last time out how Sparkes was matching her characters with her own imagination as regards the oddball, goofy and typically childish. Perhaps, a nagging thought had it, she was cribbing from her own children a little too heavily to be admitted. Well, be that as it may, I certainly hope she doesn't have a Timmy in her life to suffer. It's nice to report though that the fart-astic adventure isn't too reliant on toilet humour, and instead is a safely measured, and greatly rounded and inventive adventure, that the Bookbag recommends.

The volume is just as nicely presented as the series opener, although Aunt Thea looks too cute and young for my mind in the pictures, which go great guns at brightening the pages up. Not that much of that is needed, for this is a brisk and fun read that boys of the target age will happily add to their shelves.

I would like to thank the author for her personally-sent review copy.

Booklists.jpg Monster Makers: Stinkermite by Ali Sparkes is in the Top Ten Books For Children Who Think That Farts Are Funny.

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Buy Monster Makers: Stinkermite by Ali Sparkes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Monster Makers: Stinkermite by Ali Sparkes at


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