The Monster Doctor by John Kelly

The Monster Doctor by [John Kelly]
Cover illustration by John Kelly

In my class of nine and ten year-olds, there are some children who are open to reading pretty much anything and then there are those for whom choosing a book is very difficult. The majority of those falling into this, admittedly relatively small, group are those reluctant readers – boys, who will not entertain anything they perceive to be girly and for whom a longer read, especially one with no pictures, is just not going to be a thing.

With them in mind, I entered the giveaway for this lower Key Stage 2 read on Toppsta, and was thrilled when not only did this drop through my letter box but also the second in the series which I had not been anticipating. At less than 200 pages each and with plenty of humorous illustrations by the author to accompany the texts, these are going to be very popular reads indeed with not only those boys but many of my charges.

While out walking one day, our hero Ozzy is startled by the man in front of him dropping his left arm on the pavement. An unusual occurrence at any time, and one made even more unusual because its owner turns out to be a zombie – one by the name of Morty. Very politely, Ozzy suggest that Morty should visit a doctor only to be told that he is doing just that. Curious to see where the surgery is, Ozzy tags along with his new friend and on reaching the practice, spies a plaque revealing the name of the Fully Qualified Monster Physician & Surgeon together with the statement: Anything Treated.

On entering the building, Ozzy comes face to face with many-tentacled receptionist Dolores who complains to him and Morty that none of the staff has been paid for some time. This whinge is swiftly followed by the furious departure of staff member Yorrik who has had enough. With the place seemingly in complete chaos, a bemused Ozzy helps the now present doctor to catch and trap some escaped bile leeches before she explains their important medicinal role to him.

With Yorrik no longer there to assist the doctor in her ministrations to the sick, Ozzy finds himself called upon to help. Not only does he seem to have an aptitude for working with monsters and things, Ozzy seems to have a head for business as he takes advantage of a patient’s generosity to try to sort out the financial side of the surgery. As he finds himself placed in one danger after another when he meets an assortment of bizarre patients of the Monster Doctor, can he not only survive these encounters but make his assistance a more permanent arrangement?

This is such a fun-packed read – one which I have no doubt will amuse its younger readers as much as it did me. In my experience, children love anything revolting and this book supplies that in abundance whether through the unfortunate Morty or details of the contents of a dragon’s stomach. Accompanying these highlights are the wonderful illustrations of the author which appear on every page and will help to keep less keen readers engaged from cover to cover.

Something that particularly pleased me in this story is the fact that the Monster Doctor is female. I have lost count of the number of times that children (usually boys, it must be said) have told me that I have made a mistake when I have used female personal pronouns when talking about doctors because girls can’t be doctors. This outdated assertion drives me absolutely mad, as does the way in which those reluctant boy readers in my class will not even entertain the idea of reading a book which has a solitary female protagonist on the front. By making this character one of the supporting cast, John Kelly has struck a powerful blow for girls everywhere in a very clever and subtle way and I for one applaud him for that.

I don’t generally read books in a series back-to-back so I am taking a swift breather before I start on the sequel to this – The Monster Doctor: Revolting Rescue. I am very much looking forward to indulging in more of the same silly and revolting mayhem that I enjoyed here and for anyone craving more, there will be the wonderfully named Slime Crime to follow in March next year. Until then, enormous thanks must go to Toppsta and MacMillan Publishing for my review copy which I cannot wait to take on to class to share. A monstrous 5 out of 5 stars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: