The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster by Sally Rippin
Polly and Buster series. Hardie Grant Egmont. ISBN 9781760129019
(Age: 7-9) Highly recommended. Theme: Witches, Monsters, Friendship, Resilience, Acceptance.
Standing up for a friend is being a hero, Polly. No matter who that friend might be. Witch or monster.
Polly the witch and Buster the feelings monster have a special friendship, even in a town where witches and monsters do not interact. Young witches attend the Academy, where they are educated in all area of witchcraft including how to make potions and spells. When young Polly has trouble reading her spell instruction book with disastrous consequences, she needs her special friend to help her and make her feel better. Buster the monster lives next door and they have a secret meeting spot in the tall tree at the end of the yard. When the big furry monster feels happy, he grows bigger, unfortunately sad situations and unkind words make him shrink. While Buster's family welcomes Polly into their home, feeding her delicious meals, Polly's older sister and mother find her wayward ways not up to the proper standard for witches.
When Buster's monster class and Polly's class of witches visit the museum at the same time, trouble looms. The young monster calls out a greeting to his best friend Polly; she ignores him completely trying to impress Malorie. the most popular witch in her class . Buster shrinks into the smallest, saddest monster and then even his classmates tease him. Malorie fabricates a story about Polly saving her from a horrible monster. As the problem escalates, Polly has to make some tough decisions about friendship, popularity and acceptance.
Sally Rippin's junior novel The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster is wonderfully written, richly rounded with description and emotion. Her fantasy world of witches and monsters is believably portrayed. The cast of characters with their quirks, faults and special qualities engage the reading audience. Buster's family is warm and comforting; they take in 'unloveable monsters who need love the most.' With the social and emotional themes of dealing with peer pressure, accepting differences and making good choices, this is a perfect novel for Middle Primary classes.