Book Review: That’s Not the Monster We Ordered, by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones

thats not the monster we ordereAvailable now in bookshops nationwide.

The Turner family were the first to get their very own monster and invited the neighbourhood around to see it. It is suave, strong, athletic and all round amazing! Being super impressed, the kids begin to hound Mum and Dad for a monster too and do a great job at reasoning through their parent’s objections. Eventually Mum gives in (Dad has already capitulated on the promise of a monster that only eats grass) and the family eagerly awaits the arrival of their monster.

Except… except. He’s not quite as impressive as the Turner’s monster. He’s not what they ordered – perhaps the ‘monsters 4 less’ on the packaging should have alerted them. He doesn’t do any tricks, doesn’t paint the house and as for the grass eating, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in the room with a monster with an upset tummy!

Mum and Dad want to send him back but when it comes time to do the deed, they just can’t. Even with all his faults (or perhaps because of them?), he has become part of the family. He is goofy, cuddly and likes to have fun; a real playmate for the kids.

Kids love monster books and this one is a funny and original take on monster tales. The details in the illustrations work brilliantly with the text; the balance of what is said in text and shown in pictures is spot on. There are plenty of spots of humour throughout the book (the buyer review pages at the back are a fun touch) and the scene with Mum fixing the family car is great to see too!

Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones have collaborated on several successful picture books, and with books such as My Grandpa’s a Dinosaur, Gorillas in Our Midst and Blastosaurus, they seem to have a penchant for mixing larger than life characters with children in everyday situations; fun juxtapositions that are entertaining and appeal to young (and not so young) readers.

Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen

That’s Not the Monster We Ordered
by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones
Penguin Random House NZ
ISBN 9780143770497

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