Alpha Monsters, by Chris Kennett

Young Freddy Jackson looked up at the rain
But he thought he might like to go out just the same.
‘I’m going outside,’ Freddy called out with glee.
‘OK,’ said his mum. ‘But be back before tea!’

Freddy discovers by accident an island of Alpha monsters. A monster – or rather – the monster named A, is sad because he’s lost his best teddy. Freddy offers to help him find his teddy and A explains that each of the animals has a letter. So they retrace his day, via alphabetic encounters like ‘In the town square H was digging huge holes, And I slipped in ink, dropping five icy poles.’ Illustrations are computer-generated and the monsters come in a friendly array of sizes, some with tails, different type and number of legs, single or multiple eyes. Pages are full-colour and monsters display a range of emotions.

There’s more than one way to skin a fish, so the saying goes, and there’s more than one way to present an alphabet. Chris Kennett has wrapped his alphabet in an island full of monsters. There are extra letter-words in some rhymes and opportunities for readers to count as well (how many eyes, how many feet, how many monsters?) There are happy monsters, grumpy ones and more. There are extras in each page to encourage rereading, as well as identifying the monster that matches the letter. Good pre-reading fun. Freddy solves the mystery of the lost teddy, retrieves his own teddy and still makes it home for tea! Recommended for pre-school children.

Alpha Monsters

Alpha Monsters, Chris Kennett
Scholastic Australia 2011
ISBN: 9781741697612

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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