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Monday 6 July 2020

Review: How to Make a Pet Monster: Hodgepodge

Artie is eleven, a science freak and the narrator of this story. He believes only in what he can prove. Especially not in monsters and ghosts!

This belief changes dramatically when the family moves into a new and spooky house. 

Even spookier is his stepsister Willow and his unconventional stepfather, for whom Artie has trouble finding a name with which to address him.

Escaping to the attic for some thinking time away from wild Willow’s attempt to learn guitar, Artie finds a book of spells on how to fetch a monster.

Willow follows him to see what he’s up to. She needs some excitement and challenge from everything boring. She finds it in the spell book.

There’s no stopping Willow when her mind is set, regardless of Archie’s panicked protests. But he is drawn into it all against his will. Although they don’t have the correct ingredients or utensils, Willow improvises.

The result is the appearance of a farting, cuddly and cute miniature monster who loves eating socks amongst other strange habits. They name him Hodgepodge due to what went into the mixture to create him.

Combined conspiracy is needed to hide a farting, sock-eating monster.  The antics they get into with their now pet, are endless and hilarious. Hodgepodge brings the two closer and creates distraction from the difficulties they are experiencing adjusting to their new lives.

New worries to address are added to their problems. The rich Wesley Crankshaw collects unusual creatures for his Rare Animal Sanctuary. This is seen by the children as the ideal re-homing for Hodgepodge. But what exactly is the sanctuary?

Chaos follows when the children try to get their pet back. They end up embroiled in something more complicated than even a scientific mind could have foreseen.

Hodgepodge is the first in an entertaining, unbelievably funny series, full of action and adventure with brilliant illustrations by Dustin Spence to complement the text. It is for kids that love the ridiculous, and reluctant readers.

Lili Wilkinson is an award-winning writer. Author of picture books, That Christmas Feeling and Clancy the Quokka. Her many Young adult titles include The Boundless Sublime and After the Lights Go Out. Her latest novel, The Erasure Initiative, is due to be released in August 2020. Book 2: Flummox is coming soon.

Title: How to Make a Pet Monster: #1 Hodgepodge
Author Lili Wilkinson
Illustrator: Dustin Spence
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $ 14.99
Publication Date: 2 July 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760877385
For ages: 8+
Type: Junior Fiction