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  /  Reviews   /  Middle Grade Readers   /  The Bother with the Bonkillyknock Beast: Miss Mary-Kate Martin’s Guide to Monsters 3

The Bother with the Bonkillyknock Beast: Miss Mary-Kate Martin’s Guide to Monsters 3

By Karen Foxlee, illustrated by Freda Chiu

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Karen Foxlee is the award winning author of  Dragon Skin and Lenny’s Book of Everything. The Bother with the Bonkillyknock Beast is the third in Mary-Kate monster adventures, the first is The Wrath of the Woolington Wyrm followed by #2 The Trouble with the Two-Headed Hydra.
This latest adventure takes place in a castle in the Scottish village of Bonkillyknock. Mary-Kate and her Granny are there for the World Society of Monster Hunters conference. When a loud and lugubrious howl echoes through the castle everyone thinks that its the Loch Morgavie monster but then the kitchen is turned upside down by something large, green, slimy, and possibly furry. Could there be another monster in trouble? Mary-Kate and her new found friends Simon and Millicent start investigating and come up with several surprises.
This engrossing story follows the same format as the previous two. Mary-Kate controls her anxiety by wearing her favourite sparkly shoes, and making lists in her new notebook with her many coloured glitter pens. Each chapter starts with a quote from an experienced monster hunter and is wise advise for any time and situation. Here are some random samples:  ‘Always pack your curiosity’, ‘A note on darkness; never forget it hides both good and bad’, ‘There are as many types of courage as there are monsters, and ‘A destination is always more than a place’.
We meet some old friends and some intriguing new people. My favourite is the imposing Lady MacMerry ‘ a tall willowy figure…a clump of growling shadows at her feet’ p17.
Karen is a real storyteller, weaving her web of mystery around the castle and its inhabitants, immediately charming the reader with her clever characterisation,  delicate humour and endless invention. Her monster here is inspired by the stories of the legendary highland fairy hounds know as the cù-sìth, mouldy, green and magical.
The plentiful illustrations in black and white line by Freda Chiu are just lovely.
What a perfect gift all three of these adventures would make. Please don’t make us wait too long for the next Mary-Kate adventure.
Allen & Unwin Children’s 2024
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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