Smidgen: How to Make a Pet Monster 3
Albert Street, 2022
200pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Life has changed dramatically for 11-year=old Artie. He and his mum have just moved into a spooky old house with his mum’s new partner, and while he’s OK with that (even if he doesn’t know quite what to call the partner) he has also gained a sister – one who is a year older than he and who terrifies him.
Artie also likes to read his Junior Scientist magazine bur he is having trouble finding a quiet place to do so – he can’t read downstairs because his mother is renovating; he can’t read in the kitchen because David Cole (what he has settled on calling him that) is making dinner; and he can’t read in his room because Willow is being too noisy, shouting on her phone to her friends and playing her electric guitar “making sounds like someone is stomping on a bag of cats”. so he ventures up to the attic and that’s where he discovers The Bigge Boke of Fetching Monsters. Unfortunately, before he has a chance to hide it, Willow discovers it and she insists on trying out the instructions. Artie, who doesn’t believe in monsters at all because, like ghosts and skeletons and other things that live in haunted houses like his, they don’t exist, is very apprehensive but Willow is insistent. And the fun begins…
Now having made Hodgepodge , who is now Artie’s best friend, and Flummox who has gone to live with their neighbour, Willow wants to try again. But Artie is not so sure – perhaps they have pushed their luck too far and will get something not as friendly this time.
Written and formatted for those who are newly independent readers with short chapters, larger font and lots of illustrations, this is the third in this series that will appeal to those who are a bit like Artie and a little afraid of what’s beyond their immediate world, as well as those like Willow who push on regardless – and even those who sit somewhere in between. With its two predecessors, it’s a solid series to encourage young readers to keep reading. Being able to bring prior knowledge to a story adds extra confidence and so this is one that should be read in sequence. although there is enough support built in for it to be a stand-alone.