Mysterious Monsters #2: Alien – David Michael Slater

Illustrations – Mauro Sorghienti

🛸 The Truth is in Here! 👽

The Mattigan kids (Maddie – 12, Max – 10 and Theo – 8) accidentally disproved their sceptic father’s belief that Mysterious Monsters aren’t real in Mysterious Monsters: Bigfoot. Bigfoot now lives in the basement of the family’s mansion and their father is none the wiser. Unfortunately a video of the three children hunting Bigfoot went viral and put their father’s show in jeopardy, so in order to salvage both his reputation and television show the four Mattigans are on a family road trip to Las Vegas.

Rumour has it that the government have had an alien at Area 51 helping them understand alien technology and the Grey alien, J-Pod, has now escaped. The race is on to find J-Pod, with alien hunters coming out of the woodwork and taking over the desert in their search. Combine that with an extraterrestrial convention and Las Vegas is now overrun with people dressed up as Little Green Men and all of the other alien races.

While their father conducts his own investigation to disprove once and for all the existence of aliens, kids Maddie, Max and Theo are determined to find J-Pod themselves.

I enjoyed Alien almost as much as the first book in the series. There’s something special about a first book that’s difficult to recapture as the characters are all strangers to the reader and you’re not quite sure what’s in store for you story wise. Theo was the stand out character in this book but I still think Max will be my favourite of the series. How can I not favour the bookish sibling?!

This book felt more like I was an invisible fifth wheel with a family I’ve known for years but for some reason doesn’t acknowledge my presence. Perhaps it’s my invisibility? I didn’t see Mulder or Scully while I was in Vegas but it’s highly probable they were wearing alien costumes and blending in at the convention.

Besides too many aliens to count the Mattigan children also come across some zombies in Vegas, but not the type you’re thinking of. I thought the social commentary regarding the zombies was quite clever and dealt with in a child appropriate way.

I had to giggle each time the kids would encounter a new situation and Maddie pondered if that’s what is meant by ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’. Naturally I expect (well, hope) this would go straight over the heads of kids reading this book but if your kid is reading it you may want to have an answer ready if you’re asked what it really means.

The family’s catchphrases that I’d been concerned would be nauseating by the end of this book were still cute and funny. While they were all still used in this book they don’t appear as frequently so they blend more into the rest of the conversations. There was the same sort of cringeworthy but fun dad humour as the first book and some good funny bits throughout; my favourite being the sign at the gas station. ‘EAT HERE, GET GAS FREE’ 😁

Easter Egg 🥚 : For those of you old enough to remember the movie Harry and the Hendersons, I found its inclusion in this book to be a lovely nod to the first book in this series. I won’t tell you how old I was when that movie was released but I adored it!

Once again I was in awe of Mauro Sorghienti’s incredible illustrations. I don’t have a favourite in this book but they’re all wonderful and match the feel of the story so well. I’m keen to see more of this artist’s work.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Incorgnito Publishing Press imprint Corgi Bits and Smith Publicity for the opportunity to read this book.

I’m looking forward to the third book, Vampire 🧛‍♀️ 🧛‍♂️, scheduled for release in fall. Woohoo!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

With Bigfoot safely stashed in their basement, Maddie, Max, and Theo Mattigan are off to Las Vegas with their dad. His plan is to prove there are no aliens on the loose there. But now that his kids know that Mysterious Monsters are real, they’re making plans of their own. 

They’ll need clever disguises, well-hidden walkie-talkies – and more than a few broken eggs – to find out, once and for all, what’s hidden in the notorious Area 51. 

Mysterious Monsters #1: Bigfoot – David Michael Slater

Illustrations – Mauro Sorghienti

I’d like to present this book with the coveted 🏆 I’m Excited About This New Series award for February 2018. 👏

The first in the Mysterious Monsters series, early reader chapter books for kids from 6 to 9 years, we’re introduced to the Mattigan family who live in Portland, Oregon, in the best Hide-and-Go-Seek house in the world.

While their father is in West Virginia to debunk the legend of the Mothman, siblings Maddie, Max and Theo get an unexpected visitor. They meet their Grandpa Joe for the first time and unlike their father, Grandpa Joe believes in monsters and brings his Mysterious Monster journal with him. Although their father has always maintained monsters aren’t real, it isn’t long before Grandpa Joe has convinced the Mattigan children to search the woods around their home for evidence of Bigfoot!

The Mattigan family are:

Father: Marcus, professional sceptic and star of “Monstrous Lies with Marcus Mattigan”. Appears to have a fairly advanced case of Dad humour.

Mother: Vanished two years ago… [cue The Twilight Zone theme]

Oldest Child: Maddie, 12 years old, likes being in charge of her two younger brothers and is adept at using both Eyeballing and Lecture Mode to keep her brothers in line.

Middle Child: Max, 10 years old, is frequently seen with his “spy-nocular” and adopting “the crouch”. Max loves maps and old books. His love of books obviously makes him my favourite character.

Youngest Child: Theo, 8 years old, loves watching Hansel and Gretel and doesn’t go anywhere without his sack of peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches.

This book has plenty of humour, adventure and mystery, and was a lot of fun to read. I really enjoyed David Michael Slater’s writing style and was surprised by how quickly I came to know and like these children. All of the characters have their own quirks and there aren’t any boring bits in the story.

The Mattigan family have a number of family and personal catchphrases which you’ll quickly become well acquainted with. My favourite catchphrase was Max’s variations of “If that’s your/his/my/our real name”, which made me smile each time I read it.

All of the catchphrases are used frequently and while they were amusing and cute in this book there is the potential for them to wander toward the ad nauseam end of the spectrum for adults after a couple of books if they continue to be used as much. However, adults aren’t the target audience so this point is basically irrelevant.

Mauro Sorghienti’s illustrations were jaw drop worthy. What a talented artist! I’d love to own a coloured copy of the illustration of the Mattigan mansion surrounded by the trees of Forest Park. There’s a mysterious and haunted quality to the building and I want to know when I can move in!

If this book is any indication of what’s to come this is going to be a super fun series. I need to go on some more adventures with this family ASAP and I look forward to telling you about them.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Incorgnito Publishing Press imprint Corgi Bits and Smith Publicity for the opportunity to read this book.

In the second book we will be finding out if the truth really is out there. I want to believe! [cue The X Files theme] 👽

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The Mattigan kids don’t believe in things that go bump in the night. After all, their dad is famous for proving such things are impossible. But, when their long-lost Grandpa Joe shows up with his Mysterious Monsters journal, begging for help, the siblings find themselves drawn into a search for Bigfoot. 

Along the way, they’ll have to deal with meddling babysitters, suspicious psychics, a YouTube disaster, and their furious father. To solve this mystery, Maddie, Max, and Theo must rethink what’s possible – and make lots of peanut butter and banana sandwiches.