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Jenny Pearson has to be one of my absolute favourite children's authors and this, her fifth book with Usborne, only proves that more. 'The Boy Who Made Monsters' is funny, endearing, mysterious and completely heart-breaking. The fact it is set in Scotland only adds to its charm, splendour and atmosphere. I mean, I would say that because I was born in Scotland and lived near Loch Ness as a child (though I was never fortunate to visit Loch Lochy). For that reason, it is definitely my favourite of Jenny Pearson's truly excellent books for children.

Benji McLaughlin is a visionary. He believes in things other people think are impossible, like that he and his brother Stanley will be happy living with their uncle, and that the Loch Lochy monster is real, and that his parents will come home safely one day. So when he finds out that Uncle Hamish's holiday business is struggling, Benji's not worried. He has a visionary plan. Together with his new friends, Murdy and Mr Dog, he sets off to prove that the Loch Lochy monster exists...

'The Boy Who Made Monsters' is a story about understanding and accepting grief; about how grief can remain submerged in the depths inside us. As always, Jenny Pearson has the masterly ability to make us laugh and cry from one sentence to the next; to plunge us into depths of feeling while simultaneously making us have a wee laugh on the surface. Hope and laughter is as tall as the Highlands here and sadness as deep as a loch.

Benji is a truly excellent protagonist. He's both visionary and blind to things all at once. Innocent and charming, loving and sensitive. He brings out the stars and the glitter on the water. The characters around him - his brother Stanley, Uncle Hamish and new friend Murdy McGurdy (yes, that's her name) - are so well created they may as well be bursting out of the pages as real, living breathing creations too. There may be monsters in this story, but there are also these lovely heroes. I am already missing these characters. What company to keep!

I cannot recommend 'The Boy Who Made Monsters' enough. This is Jenny Pearson at her most charming and heartfelt. Plus, Scotland! I was actually planning on visiting Scotland this summer with my family. I think I may need to plan in a detour to Loch Lochy too. After all, we might spot a monster....

Thank you to Usborne and Fritha Lindqvist for my proof copy to review.

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