Monday, October 3, 2022

A Duo Review for MMGM with Leo's Map of Monsters The Armored Goretusk & The Spit Fang Lizard by Kris Humphrey, illustrations by Pete Williamson

Leo's Map of Monsters: The Armoured Goretusk  

Format:  E-ARC
Publisher:  Kane Miller Publishing 
Number of pages:  160
Publishing:  Originally published 8/6/20 by Oxford Press, and now being released in US via Kane Miller
Source:  Publisher in exchange for an honest review  

Opening Line: "Everyone knows you don't go out into the forest."

Leo and his village are kept safe by its high walls, gates, watch towers and the knowledge that you avoid all the creatures in the forest by never venturing beyond the walls.  On Leo's nineth birthday he is set to receive his letter and assignment for the next two years, but his is different than all the rest it simply says, "top secret."  He'd hoped to join Jacob working in the Records Office, but when the Village Chief comes to his home to take him out for his assignment, Leo knows something is amiss.  She leads him through a door and out of the village, very much outside and near the forest.  Here he meets Henrik and is informed his new secret duty is to become a Guardian, a protector against the forest, river, marsh, and rock monsters that make a home near the village.  Armed with only a map, slingshot and a pouch of magical stones, Leo must keep the tradition of keeping his village safe from the monsters, while also hiding their existence from his friends and family.  

Leo's Map of Monsters: The Spitfang Lizard  
Format:  E-ARC
Publisher:  Kane Miller Publishing 
Number of pages:  145
Publishing:  Originally published in 2021 by Oxford Press, and now being released in US via Kane Miller
Source:  Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Opening Line:   "A cold wind raced through the forest, shaking the trees and pelting me with dead Autumn leaves."

Leo has been practicing his slingshot skills and trying to learn everything he can about being a Guardian.  He can even tell the difference between magical stones and is improving at reading the map.  So what if his aim is still slightly off?  He's been able to protect the village pretty good so far.  Then word comes from the Village Chief and Leo is sent out on his second mission, this time to find the two Spitfang Lizards that have strayed away from their pack.  As Leo travels toward the river, he spots two forest people, Eve and Willow and is warned by Leatherwing that they are dangerous and not to be trusted.  Is Leo prepared to deal with his latest monster?  

I decided to combine The Armored Goretusk and Spit Fang Lizard into a duo review.  These are super quick reads, and the illustrations of the monsters are especially done well.  The chapter books are very similar in length and have a repetitive theme of Leo going out on a mission to save his village from the encroaching monsters, who are not always what they initially seem.   Leo is a fun protagonist who uses a lot of trial and error to accomplish his tasks and isn't as fazed by how terrifying the monsters are, or as scared as I thought he would be.  I'd say this series fits well for an elementary kid, 7+ who enjoys stories about fighting monsters.  I'd say the first two books are more adventurous than Leo facing gripping dangers, although the monsters do seem formidable.  I'm curious about the addition of the two new forest people and what direction the stories will head in the future.  Overall, this is a fun new to me series that would make for an exciting read-aloud.  Included at the back of the stories are a detail of each monster's strength, size, intelligence, etc. which has a sort of feel of a Pokémon trading card.  **A huge thank you to Lynn Kelley from Kane Miller Publishing for the E-books of the first four books in the series.  I have plans to review the next two books in the near future. **    


Valinora Troy said...

These books sound fun reads! Thanks for sharing!

Greg Pattridge said...

These sound perfect for readers not quite ready for the more demanding novels. Thanks for featuring them on MMGM this week.

Patricia T. said...

A lot of responsibility for a 9-year-old. But he's clever and figures things out on his own. Kids will cheer for Henrik. Sounds like a great class read! Thanks for sharing!

Mark Baker said...

Sounds fun. Thanks for sharing.

Rosi said...

These sound like the kind of books that will really turn youngsters on to reading. Short, exciting books re hard to find. These are good to know about. Thanks for your reviews.