How to make a pet monster -Hodgepodge

Hodgepodge tacos interview

How to make a pet monster.

Ever wanted to make your own pet monster? Of course, you have, who hasn’t?!

Well, imagine a monster that’s furry and cuddly and cheeky and loyal and more importantly, can fart to suit any mood, and you’ve got yourself a Hodgepodge.

All you need is a dead cockroach or two, an old sock, some disgusting hairs from your dad’s old revolting razor, some juice from the fridge, some of your mum’s fancy scented soap and you’re in business.

Now, there are some people who don’t believe in monsters. Pfft. Nerds.

11-year-old Artie doesn’t believe in monsters. He believes in science. However, he does believe that his in-your-face-rebellious 12-year-old ready for adventure stepsister, Willow, is utterly terrifying. So, when they find a dusty old book in the basement of the family’s new and very spooky home, they open it up to find a book of monster-making spells.


Meet Hodgepodge

At first, Artie wants nothing to do with making a monster, but Willow is determined to find the ingredients listed (or something similar) to make the monster herself. Of course, Artie’s scientific brain is more than a little curious and agrees to assist in the name of science.

After a few very creative moments, the end result is a hodgepodge of creatures that makes one furry, cheeky and loveable monster that can, you guessed it, fart to suit any mood or occasion. But, more than that, Hodgepodge is loyal to his creators and will help with any task they want him to do. What will Artie and Willow do?

A blended Family

First they have to hide Hodgepodge from their parents. Then they have to learn to get along in their newly formed family dynamic. Willow is not thrilled about her dad splitting up with her real mum, and Artie is learning to live with his new stepdads eccentric ways.

When Hodgepodge gets taken in by the rich, charming and evil Wesley Crankshaw, both Artie and Willow team up to rescue their friend.  

But wait, there’s more!

This is the first in a series of wonderful characters. Hodgepodge is endearing and kids will love him. As they will Willow for her tough, adventurous spirit. But for me, the star is Artie. I love his nerdy quirkiness, which is really well written and illustrated. There is a wonderful mix of humour and adventure that kids of all ages will enjoy.

It’s an early reader chapter book, so there are plenty of lively illustrations by Dustin Spence. The illustrations are perfectly suited to the story. Dustin captures the characterisation so well and helps bring the story to life. I look forward to more in the series and see lots of little monsters wanting more as well.

Interview with the author

If you’d like to hear more from the amazing, multi-award winning, author of Hodgepodge, Lili Wilkinson, she talks with Ken on the Tacos Podcast about her writing journey. You can listen here:


Title: How to Make a Pet Monster – Hodgepodge.

Author: Lili Wilkinson

Illustrator: Dustin Spence

Publisher: Albert Street Books, imprint of Allen and Unwin, 2020

Pages: 190  

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