The one word that Tom Fletcher has used repeatedly to describe his second novel in the lead up to its release is ‘disgusting‘, and I have to say I completely agree with him (in a good way!)
How would you feel if you woke up one day to find all of the grown-ups had disappeared? Excited? Worried? Mischevious? Well, that’s exactly what Lucy Dungston and the children of Whiffington face one morning when they find all of their parents and teachers are nowhere to be seen. Most of the kids have no clue what to do, so it is up to Lucy to take charge and not only stop anyone from burning their houses down but to figure out how to get the adults back. A mysterious note on the school gates says that they are gone forever, but Lucy is convinced that this isn’t true, and her suspicions are confirmed when she discovers monsters under her bed! The Creakers! Lucy and her friends must come up with a cunning plan to rescue the grown-ups, but if the stinky Creakers have anything to do with it, it’s not going to be easy!
The Creakers is an exciting new take on the classic monsters under the bed story, with clear influences from the likes of The Gremlins and The Borrowers. It is properly scary from the off. I could really feel Lucy’s fear of being without her mum and was genuinely worried for the kids’ fate! From beginning to end it is a fast-paced page-turner; I was always on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happened next.
It is a true fantasy adventure. Tom’s creativity shines through once more and his world-building is fantastic. The vivid descriptions that work so well in The Christmasaurus triumph again, although this time reading about all of the foul stenches and dirty rubbish-loving tendencies of the Creakers in all of their putrid glory made me feel a bit queasy! It is ever so slightly too disgusting for me (I think I’ll stick to the North Pole!) but kids will absolutely love delving into the Creakers’ lair, squirming and shrieking with laughter!
In my review of The Christmasaurus, I asked Tom to give us more girl heroes, and my goodness did he deliver! Lucy is sensible and responsible and brave and clever and daring and kind! She is a true leader and I couldn’t ask for more in the main character. I loved her friends too. Norman is eccentric, skilful and sweet and I was pleased to see a girl of colour in Ella, the sassiest six-year-old you will ever meet! Although, I would have liked her to play more of a key role than just the annoying younger one that always tags along. I was thrilled by the cameo from William and Brenda, but I wanted to hear more from them and maybe even Bob and Pamela too.
Tom addresses the reader directly a lot in The Creakers, and while this is effective for most of the time, occasionally it does go overboard and gets, dare I say it, a bit waffly?! The way that he looks forward to what is coming in later chapters is a bit obvious and unnecessary. I wanted to shout ‘STOP TELLING ME WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, YOU WALLY!’ However, overall the writing style is very good and kept me engaged throughout.
Once again, Tom manages to convey important messages in The Creakers. Celebrating difference is a key theme carried through from The Christmasaurus. The values of looking after the environment and living and working in harmony with those who aren’t like us are emphasised, challenging readers to think about the world around them brilliantly.
The Christmasaurus will always have my heart, but The Creakers is a strong follow-up novel with an incredible heroine falling into and a scary, fun and heartwarming adventure, guaranteed to make kids look forward to bedtime.
The Creakers is out now.