Nessie is fed up with fame and jealous of the travels her fishy friends enjoy, so when she discovers a map showing an underwater network of tunnels, she decides to leave her litter-filled Loch Ness home and head off exploring.
Travelling through the tunnels, Nessie embarks on a sort of monster InterRailing trip, taking in some celebrated European sights and making a collection of new friends who have great names like ‘Mais Oui’ and ‘Reverend Monstrosity’.
But Nessie’s trip is overshadowed by the rubbish on the sea bed, and that causes a problem that she will need all the help she can get to fix.
It can’t be easy to find a new take on Loch Ness legends, but this picture book (by the mother and daughter team of Sara and Molly Sheridan) feels original and optimistic. It may highlight a serious environmental challenge, but the monsters, and hopefully young readers too, find plenty of cause for hope amid the gloom.
Illustrator Iain Carroll’s has given the monsters (especially long-haired, large-nostrilled Nessie) a unique look, which is a refreshing contrast with the usual green, spiky Nessie cartoons, and the wee fish that join Nessie’s journey (bringing their suitcases and added commentary along) are a delight – ensuring extra chuckles on every page.
This is a particularly good book for slightly older (5+) picture book readers, with plenty to discuss and discover through multiple readings, but with friendship, adventure and a loveable monster at its heart, it’s also one that works for the whole family.
Monsters Unite, by Molly and Sara Sheridan, illustrated by Iain Carroll (Little Door) £6.99.