Review Blog

May 07 2020

PESTS by Emer Stamp

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Hodder Children's Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781444949629.
(Ages 8-12). Highly recommended. Stix is a mouse who lives with his grandma behind a washing machine in a Flat 3, Peewit Mansions, which they share with a couple, their dog and their baby. The book is written in first person by Stix and he introduces us to the space he lives in, where he finds the food he and grandma eat and the 'Mans' (humans) he shares it with - Schnookums, MyLove, Trevor (the dog) and Boo-Boo. Grandma has very strict rules about what Stix needs to do to stay hidden from the Mans because if they find any evidence of the mice the humans may call 'Nuke-a-pest', not an ideal thing to happen to a Pest.
Not long into the story a nasty Rat comes into their apartment and causes havoc for Stix by leaving a mess after he raids the pantry in Flat 3. Then disaster strikes as Grandma's plan to play dead goes awfully wrong and she is flushed down the toilet. Stix is left alone to fend for himself but a chance meeting with a friendly bat called Batz, shows him that there are other Pests who live in the building and joins them at a school for Pests. Here he learns about the competition, called 'Pest of the Year', that could give him the satisfaction of revenge on the nasty Rat that turned his world upside down.
This is a welcome addition to the list of books that appeal to reluctant readers. It has short chapters with not too much text on each page and great pencil illustrations done by the author. The publisher has used a linked-script type font which seems easier for children to read. The cover has pictures that glow in the dark and 'Pests Only' written onto the side of the pages, all the gimmicks to attract those readers who need extra encouragement to pick up a book. There is even a cool website that demands you pass the PEST test before you can enter! Themes: Mice, Friendship.
Gabrielle Anderson

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