A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness/Siobhan Dowd

Just after midnight, a monster visits 13-year-old Conor. He isn’t scared, he’s had bigger things to worry about lately, his mother’s treatment being the biggest. He knows monsters are for babies and they aren’t real. But, this monster keeps coming back and he’s here for the truth.

At the heart of this novel are the bewildering parables of the monster – part yew tree, part giant – that only leave Conor with more questions and frustration. Interspersed with Conor’s heart-rending story, these tales evoke the dawning reality of his mother’s illness and living with his grandma. In this realistic and magical piece of work, the monster is a transcendent teacher, who illuminates the nature of loss and complexity of human emotion.

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Illustrations: Jim Kay

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We Found a Hat – Jon Klassen

Two turtles come across a large white hat in the desert and in turn try it on. Agreeing that one hat is not enough for two of them, they decide to leave it behind and watch the sunset together.

Drawing on the shifting eyes, deadpan expressions and minimalist style of the earlier books in the ‘hat trilogy’ this three-part tale is the most stirring of all. Highlighting Klassen’s notable and charmingly wicked humour, in a deceptively simple story, We Found a Hat evokes sympathy, hilarity and questions of friendship. It is sure to please both children and adults.

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