How to Make a Pet Monster #1

How to Make a Pet Monster #1: Hodgepodge by Lili Wilkinson
Illustrated by Dustin Spence
Published by Allen & Unwin
Date: 2 July 2020
R.R.P. $14.99

There is no one quite like Hodgepodge – a cheeky, smelly (sometimes like roses) and farty monster that I know you’re going to find as endearing as I did. This is not just a story of a monster called Hodgepodge, but also about 11-year-old Artie and his (somewhat annoying) step-sister Willow. They have moved into a big old house with their parents where they find a book about making monsters – hence the arrival of Hodgepodge.

‘Hodgepodge farts again, and I can smell a weird mix of old socks, cat food and roses.’

I have mixed feelings about this book, but overall I really loved it. It is lovely to see the friendship between Artie and Willow grow, and the arrival of the cheeky Hodgepodge certainly adds a mix of adventure to the story. I really appreciate how Lili has taken both Artie and Willow on a journey of growth and helping them see that although life might not be how they think it should, there are reasons why it is and that there is goodness in it.

I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t like the spells part of the book. It is not something that sits well with me and is a personal reflection, but this aside, I loved everything else about it.

It is a nice easy read with a large font and pictures throughout. This makes friendly for the struggling reader along with the relatively short chapters. Hodgepodge is the perfect read for 7-10-year-olds and is the perfect mix of fun, adventure and an adorable cuddly monster.

I look forward to seeing what other monsters get made in the next instalment of the How to Make a Pet Monster series and what other adventures Artie, Willow and Hodgepodge get up to.

Thank you Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

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