A Monster Ate My Packed Lunch! is the eleventh in the Baby Aliens series by Pamela Butchart and won the Laugh Out Loud Book Awards 2023. The story is based on a school trip to a large lake and features Izzy and her friends Jodi, Zach, and Maisie – not to mention Gary Petrie and their teachers.
The story is illustrated throughout in a cartoon-like style, with certain words in bold capitals that show how a reader might place an emphasis whilst reading aloud. The plot is easy to follow and reminded me of the antics of the Scooby-Doo characters. A deep, dark, scary lake surrounded by rather luxurious lodges forms the setting, and, of course, there’s a monster.
Officially, the gang is timetabled for raft-building, a nature walk, and a ropes course, but monster sightings and general investigations tend to take precedence. There is a twist at the end, which young readers will probably be able to predict but it doesn’t spoil the jokes and general air of silliness.
The book should appeal to newly confident, independent readers and also to some reluctant readers. I would recommend it for a school or class library, and as part of a series, will appeal to children who enjoy a familiar style.
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