The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street

HarperCollins. Feb. 2020. 384p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062345073.
Gr 4-6–Cordelia Clay lives in a world where monsters are real, and it is her father’s job (and hers by proxy) to track down injured monsters to nurse them back to health. Her mother was the author of the definitive guide to natural monster history, but died in her attempt to prove her controversial theory that the two branches of monster evolution stemmed from the same root. When her father disappears it is down to Cordelia and, reluctantly on her part, Gregory, the homeless orphan whose zuppy (zombie puppy) she cured, to rescue him. Filled with a treasure trove of fascinating creatures, this Dickensian world is a treat to explore. It is also incredibly relatable, highlighting the paradox of great wealth among immense poverty and addressing themes of fear-mongering and the need for social change. The book begins with a comprehensive guide to the world’s creatures that readers will turn to again and again.
VERDICT Oliver’s characters leap off the page and readers of all ages will find themselves eagerly rooting them on and clamoring for more as their story ends. Hand this to fans of adventure, magical creatures, and epic quests.

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