Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: The Monster in the Mudball by S.P. Gates

Book received at no charge from the publisher to facilitate review.

Though he has lived next door to Madilisto for years, eleven-year-old, Jin, had no idea of the power of her ancient African artifact, a ball of mud. But when his neighbor falls and the ball of mud escapes on two little feet, Jin's curiosity has him following it to the river. Much to his amazement, the mud ball uses those little feet to strangle small animals.

 Jin can hardly believe what he sees when the mud ball rolls into the river and hatches into the ferocious monster, Zilombo. Unfourtunately, Zlilombo has a penchant for babies and captures Jin's baby brother, Smiler. Jin gains an unlikely ally when Mizz Z, an inspector from the Risk Assessment Agency for Ancient Artifacts (RAAAA), shows up. From her, Jin learns the creature has weaknesses and together, they must discover which one will take the monster down and save his brother. Jin's older sister, Frankie, joins them in their quest to defeat Zilombo.

While interesting characters grace the pages, the multiple descriptions of the monster end up confusing the reader instead of painting a clear picture of what Zilombo looks like. Combine that with an unconventional start from an adult's point of view, and the young reader must work harder to put all of the pieces together. Nevertheless, the attempt at the Chinese-American multi-culture will delight those who share a mixed culture. Monster lovers will have no trouble putting the few weaknesses aside to cheer on Jin and his siblings. A solid fantasy adventure that delivers plenty of surprises.

Rating: Recommended ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:
Publisher: Tu Books (Sept. 17, 2013)
Ages: 8-12
Pages:  224
ISBN 13: 978-1-62014-141-0
This book can me purchased for the following retailers:

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**I received the book at no charge from the publisher to facilitate my review. As always, I retain the right to give a fair and honest review.**


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