The Monster in the Lake, Vol. 2
Louie Stowell, Author
Davide Ortu, Illustrator
Walker Books US, Fiction, Feb. 8, 2022
Suitable for ages: 7-9
Themes: Wizards, Spells, Libraries, Dragons, Magical creatures, Evil curses, Diversity
Opening: “In the Book Wood beneath the library, Kit Spencer was practicing spells. She was a stock girl, with red hair, pale skin, and more mud than you’d usually see on a person who wasn’t a professional pig wrestler…Her goal was to raise the fireball above her head, the lower it to the ground. Faith was guiding her through the spell.”
Book Jacket Synopsis:
Kit Spencer may be the youngest wizard ever, but she sure doesn’t feel like the best wizard. Her magic keeps going wrong, and other weird stuff is happening: talking animals, exploding fireballs, and a very strange new arrival in the local park pond.
She sets off with her two best friends, Alita and Josh and Faith the librarian to investigate with wild magic that’s causing so much commotion. Joining them is a half dragon, half dog named Dogon who breathes fire and loves to be petted. But something is effecting Dogon too.
Their journey takes them to Scotland, where they meet a loch-full of cranky mermaids, but the danger is greater than they imagined. Will they be able to set things right before the wild and dangerous magic spreads further?
Why I like The Monster in the Lake:
What fun it is introducing this wizarding series to emerging readers who aren’t ready for Harry Potter and other MG fantasy books. In the Monster in the Lake, (Book 2), Louie Stowell creates an exciting and appealing adventure-packed story with magical creatures, diverse characters, and an engaging and suspenseful plot with unexpected twists. The storytelling is straightforward and the pacing is fast and humorous.
The three diverse friends are lovable characters, but have very different personalities. Kit is a spirited character who is reckless and makes a lot of mistakes. She’d rather play outdoors than read a book. Josh and Alita aren’t wizards, but they both have their own unique talents and are smart, and avid readers. Josh is always taking notes and keeping things straight. This book begins with a letter he writes to his “future self,” which gives a readers a a peek into the first book, A Dragon in the Library. Alita is good at organizing and has a special way with animals. An unlikely group of friends, they do support each other and work well together. Faith, the wizard librarian, is believable and grounds the story. There are many laughable moments.
I really like this charming and humorous chapter book series. There is a quiz at the end of the book that can be used to launch a discussion about the story. There is a third book in the works and the author leaves room for adventure and Kit’s character growth as she slowly learns to control her magic. I think Kit’s going to be an amazing wizard. This is the perfect summer adventure for young readers looking to escape into a world of magic, libraries, spells, a dragon-dog, and an unseen ancient evil presence trying to regain it’s power!
David Ortu’s pen and ink illustrations are playful. They capture the characters personalities, their reactions to stepping into the pages of a book to transport themselves to far off places, and their encounters with magical creatures. Ortu shares just enough art to spark readers imaginations!
Louie Stowell started her career writing carefully researched books about space, ancient Egypt, politics and science, but eventually lapsed into making things up. She likes writing about dragons, wizards, vampires, fairies, monsters and parallel worlds. Stowell lives in London with her wife, Karen; her dog, Buffy; and a creepy puppet that is probably cursed. Visit Stowell at her website.
Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.
*Review copy provided by Walker Books US in exchange for a review.
16 thoughts on “The Monster in the Lake by Louie Stowell”
It sounds like a fun read, Patricia, and, as you say, a great introduction to fantasy for those readers not quite ready for Harry Potter.
It is a perfect series for kids 7-9 years. The story has the right amount of everything!
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It certainly seems that way.
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This sounds like a fun fantasy series for early readers. It sounds like a lot happens in not that many pages.
Yes, a lot does happen on the pages. Very age appropriate!
I really enjoyed The Dragon is the library, and I agree, it’s a fun story for those younger readers who aren’t ready for more complex fantasy worlds. On my TBR. Thanks for the review!
Since your reviewed the Dragon in the Library last week, thought today is a perfect time to share the second book. It is a very kid-friendly fantasy series — not scary — but mysterious and magical. I enjoyed your review of the first book.
Patricia, I love that this is a book and series for reader’s not yet ready for Harry Potter. I love anything with dragons and I will read this book as it looks like one I would want to recommend for parents looking for well-written series for younger readers! Thank you!
Yes, I am with you! I am a Potter fan, but I my favorite fantasy series is Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities. Also love Bruce Coville’s The Unicorn Chronicles.
I have not read this series but can see it would do well with those not quite ready for Potters’ wizarding world. I will have to get my niece a copy of this one as she just turned 8. Thanks for featuring your review on MMGM
This sounds like such a delightful series! I don’t keep up with chapter books as much as I could, but it’s wonderful to see books like this for young readers looking for fantasy stories but not quite ready for MG fantasy novels. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Patricia!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Young kids like fantasy, so it’s fun to see a series just right for their reading abilities.
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How fun to hook emerging readers with fantasy. This sounds like it will be a terrific series. Thanks for the heads up.
It is a fun series — very age appropriate and not frightening. Just fun!
This sounds like a fun series! I’m intrigued by the half-dog, half-dragon: Dogon!
The dog-dragon is my favorite character. So ccute.