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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


****The Boggart and the Monster

by Susan Cooper

Reviewed July 7, 2003.
Margaret K. McElderry Books, New York, 1997.  183 pages.

Here’s a fun story that I just had to reread before I see Loch Ness with my own eyes.  Emily and Jessup Volnik head back to Castle Keep, where they’ve already met a mischief-making boggart.  With the new owner, Mr. Maconochie, and a local boy Tommy Cameron, they decide to take a camping trip to Loch Ness, and unknowingly bring along their boggart.

At Loch Ness, the boggart senses the presence of his long-lost cousin.  It turns out that Nessie is a boggart, too, but when his family’s Castle Urquhart was destroyed, he went into the lake and forgot how to shape-shift.  He’s stuck in the form of a plesiosaur.

Meanwhile, a research team is scouring the lake with new sophisticated equipment.  If they get solid evidence of Nessie, he’ll never know a moment’s peace again.  The kids and the boggart must help Nessie remember how to shape shift and get out of his terrifying form.

This is a delightful tale, without the bothersome computer details of the first book.  I enjoyed the way it’s tied to a real place and a real legend.  It’s a fun explanation for the old stories.  The only thing I didn’t like is that if this story is true, then Nessie has left his old home.  So I comfort myself that it is, after all, fiction, and maybe we still have a chance to spot him.

The earlier book:  The Boggart

Reviews of other books by Susan Cooper:
The Magician's Boy
Over Sea, Under Stone
The Dark Is Rising
The Grey King
Silver on the Tree

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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