Oliver Moon and the Monster Mystery by Sue Mongredien
|Oliver Moon and the Monster Mystery by Sue Mongredien|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: The Oliver Moon series of books are a fantastic read for newly confident readers. The young wizard is someone children will readily identify with. The books are quirky and magical, rather than scary. Great fun.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: February 2009|
|External links: Author's website|
Oliver Moon is a young wizard. He loves getting up to all manner of scrapes with his best friend, Jake. At their school fair, Oliver buys a raffle ticket, and as luck would have it, he wins a prize. Poor Oliver is disappointed to see it's an ugly painting of a monster, but then all sorts of mysterious things start to happen...
Mention a children's book about wizards, and everyone's thoughts immediately turn to Harry Potter. You can't avoid the connection, and it's a brave author that tries to enter the field anyway. If I just said "it's Harry Potter, but for younger children. Buy it", it'd give you a decent enough flavour of it, but it wouldn't be a fair assessment. Oliver Moon and the Monster Mystery is more than that - it's not derivitive in the slightest. These are fun, fresh, well-rounded characters that 6-9 year olds will enjoy reading about.
I really enjoyed The Monster Mystery, as well as Oliver Moon and the Troll Trouble. They're a great example of a series of children's books done well. Cliffhangers in children's books particularly annoy us here at Bookbag, so it's great to see that they're self-contained stories with a solid core of central characters. The writing style is clear, crisp and vibrant, with plenty of quirky and spooky items around the house. I particularly enjoyed the cheesy 'Weevil-bix for breakfast' pun.
Confident readers will love getting stuck into the Oliver Moon series. They're charming and enjoyable, with a perfectly-paced plot. The illustrations by Jan McCafferty help create an unscary but spooky world, whilst allowing the excellent stories to shine. After you've enjoyed reading the stories, you can also check out the website at www.olivermoon.co.uk - it's great fun to explore, and it has brief extracts of the books too.
For the record, I have to declare an interest here: Sue Mongredien is a fellow Bookbag reviewer. I've reviewed her books with the understanding that if I didn't like them, I'd say. Luckily I liked them!
If you enjoyed Oliver Moon, you'll also like The Worst Witch to the Rescue by Jill Murphy. (That's not the Bookbag reviewer; they just share the same name). Ghostsitters by Angie Sage is also lots of fun.
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I have to buy one of them as you like them so much and Katie has started to read these things now (by these things I mean the "confident readers" books of that length) a bit more, though she's still very picky and goes back to the audio of Hobbit and hard copies of Narnia and Ottoline with a sprinkling of Beano and Rainbow Fairies regularly.