This book is heartrending and will make grief and loss real even for those who have never lost someone in their life. The inevitable ending is always at the back of readers' minds but when it comes it is sadder than ever. This poignant and moving story will make readers sad long after they have read the final page. I never usually cry in books or movies but this book had me on the verge of tears.
The illustrations by Jim Kay are brilliant and surreal. Even pages that aren't fully illustrated will sometimes have a fragment of illustration. All in black and white, they are perfectly combined with the text and incredibly detailed
Although it's a dark and mournful book (it's been shortlisted for Children's Book Of The Year by both Red House and Galaxy) it's also resplendent, not least for the superb illustrations by Jim Kay. The drawings are part of the very fabric of the book, almost seeming to grow out of the page, like the tree monster himself... A Monster Calls is a beguiling and heart-rending tale, tender and eviscerating in turn. But there is honesty and great beauty there too.
There’s no denying it: this is one profoundly sad story. But it’s also wise, darkly funny and brave, told in spare sentences, punctuated with fantastic images (“Her scariest frown burnt into her face like a scar”) and stirring silences. Past his sorrow, fright and rage, Conor ultimately lands in a place — an imperfect one, of course — where healing can begin.
“A Monster Calls” is a gift from a generous storyteller and a potent piece of art. It’s enough to make me wonder: How often does grief — and the balm to heal it — arrive packaged together so neatly in the same envelope, on the doorstep?