Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: James Preller
Illustrator: Iacopo Bruno
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Twin brothers, Lance and Chance, live in poverty near the polluted swamp where things have been mutating. The twins long for a pet, but their family can't afford another mouth to feed, so when they come across a large turtle egg, they decide to take it home to hatch. When the egg splits open, out comes a creature like nothing they have ever seen or heard of. They create a pen for their new pet and introduce it to a neighbor girl. She wants one of her own, so they set off to explore the part of the swamp where they found Thing. The three find Thing's mother howling her loss through the swamp. In terror they run away. The mother goes on the hunt. Lance must reunite mother and infant in order to save Chance!
Swamp Monster is not as compelling and intense as some of the other novels in the series. Lance and Chance are described as super close, but their twin relationship doesn't feel as tight as characters less closely connected in some of the other stories. The plot holds up and is very straightforward, if a little predictable. These books are very reminiscent of TV series like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. The books are creepy but not over the top with terror or violence. This is a good reading for early teens with a predilection for spooky tales and ghost stories. Character depth is minimal and iconic more than personal, and the stories are somewhat predictable in the plot twists, but sometimes it nice to get what you expect. These books are just that, predictable, but fun for the spook factor.
*Contains mild violence