Friday, June 21, 2019

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Monster Catchers by George Brewington

Pages: 288
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction/Fantasy
Pub. Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "A father-son monster hunter duo must save the Bay Area from an evil villain in The Monster Catchers, a madcap middle-grade fantasy debut from George Brewington.  If there's something strange in the neighborhood, who you gonna call?Buckleby and Son!  Whether it's a goblin in the garden or a fairy in the attic, Bailey Buckleby and his dad can rid your home of whatever monster is troubling you—for the right price. But when Bailey discovers that his dad has been lying—their pet troll Henry is actually a kidnapped baby sea giant—he begins to question the family business. Enter Axel Pazuzu, criminal mastermind, who will stop at nothing to make a buck. With everyone and everything he loves in peril, it's up to Bailey to save his family and set things right in this funny, fantastical adventure."

Bailey Buckleby lives an interesting life in San Francisco, California with his father.  They run a monster catching business and a souvenir store that features some of San Francisco's most strange things.  Bailey, and a few others, know the secret that is in the back room of their store: monsters! Monsters are everywhere; in fact, one of Bailey's pets is a Swiss Troll, so his dad says, that he often dresses up like a human and takes for a walk to the beach.  Also, Bailey accompanies his monster hunting father on trips to rid monsters from people's homes.  He isn't able to share this secret with anyone until he meets Savannah, a fellow seventh grade student, who knows about the presence of monsters.  As the story progresses, Bailey meets Axel, part human/part dog, and he wants to take down Buckleby and Sons and also keep Henry, the supposed Swiss Troll, for himself.  Axel starts making Bailey question things his father has told him in the past, especially about Henry and the untimely death of his mother.  His interaction with Axel really highlights the differences between Bailey and his father.  Can the father and son duo defeat Axel and his clan? Is Henry truly a Swiss troll or are there are more secrets Bailey's father is keeping from him and what exactly happened to Bailey's mother?  George Brewington's debut, The Monster Catchers, is an adventurous tale for children who love imaginative stories filled with monsters, action, and heroic children.

Bailey Buckleby is such a fun character and his interest in monsters is heartwarming in The Monster Catchers. Bailey doesn't necessarily agree with his father that they should catch monsters, put them in cages and sell them for profit. This doesn't sit well with Bailey and he starts to realize that monsters have feelings just like he does and perhaps not all are bad.  This is a good message to the story that can lend itself to discussion.  I really enjoyed Bailey and the fact that he was caring, brave, and very smart....not to mention his awesome frisbee skills!

I also really enjoyed the fact that the father and son duo in The Monster Catchers worked together and that Bailey was such an integral part of the team.  What fun! My son loves all things monsters, so he couldn't want to find out what the Bucklebys were up to next.  His father, Dougie, was the polar opposite of Bailey, but I liked that the characters were foils for each other.  While I usually didn't agree with Dougie, I was still rooting for the Buckleby family in the end.

If you have an upper elementary child or a middle grade child at home that loves high fantasy as well as monsters, give The Monster Catchers a try this summer. My son was glued to the pages when I read this book aloud to him and he kept asking me to read more.  The unusual monsters, the interesting characters, and the world that Bailey lives in kept my son excited.  What more could you want from a summer read?

Thanks to Henry Holt, I am hosting a giveaway for an ebook of The Monster Catchers by George Brewington. This would be the perfect ebook to load onto your child's e-reader this summer or to share as an engaging read-aloud.  This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. Please refer to my giveaway rules. Good luck!

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