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“I bet Batgirl never had to run through a tunnel of poop,” Gina. –Waking the Monsters
Waking the Monsters
by Judd Winick
AR Test, Diverse Characters
Mega robot monsters are popping up from the ground, and they’re too big for Hilo to battle on his own. Luckily, Gina can use her magic to help fight the battle. But the closer Hilo and Gina get to the secret behind the monsters, the closer they get to the secret of Hilo’s past. Do they really want to know what happened in the past?
Gina needs to help Hilo, but that means missing cheerleading practice and keeping her activities hidden from her mother. D.J. and Izzy are determined to keep their two friends safe, but every time a monster is powered down another one appears. With all of the unusual events, Hilo is now on the military’s radar. Can Hilo avoid being captured by the army? Is there any way that Hilo and his friend can stop the monster invasion?
The fourth installment of the Hilo Series has the same characters, but a host of new mechanical monsters that need to be defeated. Unlike the previous books, Waking the Monsters focuses on battle scenes. It takes Hilo and all of his friends working together to stop the creatures. Gina is allowed to shine by using her magical ability to help Hilo. Gina’s excitement at being Hilo’s “sidekick” brings humor to the fighting. During the battles, no one is seriously injured and the mechanical monsters are powered down instead of destroyed.
Hilo’s lost memory, the long battles, and the military joining the battle give Waking the Monsters a slightly darker tone than the previous books. However, Hilo’s desire to help others in creative ways will leave readers with a smile. The story has some humor based on farting and butts. For example, Izzy makes an owl that “farts roses” and she shows her friends how it works. Izzy also makes a chicken that speaks Portuguese and “when she gets mad, her butt falls off.”
Brightly colored illustrations will capture readers’ attention, but readers will want to keep turning the pages because of the engaging story and the likable characters. The detailed illustrations show exaggerated facial expressions which will help readers understand the characters’ changing emotions. For maximum enjoyment, the stories should be read in order. Even though the first chapter recaps the events in the previous books, the story’s plots build on each other.
Readers will be endlessly curious about Hilo’s forgotten memory. The action-packed scenes, the friendships, and the mystery will keep readers turning the pages to the very end. If you’re looking for a story full of action and humor, the Hilo Series is a perfect choice.
- Giant mechanical animals begin appearing from out of the ground. The first one, a giant turtle that breathes fire, is going to “smash a town.” Hilo and the turtle fight; Hilo blasts the turtle with an ice blast, and then the turtle hits Hilo who falls to the ground. The turtle then stomps on Hilo. Izzy does a “diagnostic scan” and figures out how to power down the turtle. The fight takes place over eight pages.
- Over the next several days, other mechanical monsters pop up from the ground and Hilo fights them. One creature looks like an alligator. The fights take place over two pages.
- A giant mechanical ape appears. The ape is able to detach his hand and grab Hilo. People run screaming as the ape gets closer to the town. Hilo’s suit is damaged and “his audio link in his helmet got bonked. He can’t hear [his friends].” A mechanical monkey and the army show up. Izzy makes a suit for Gina, who joins in the battle and she’s “fighting a giant robot monkey with magical wands.” The monkey learns how to “calibrate your blast and build up a resistance.” Gina uses magic to grow twine that wraps up the monkey. During the battle Hilo gets confused. Izzy is afraid that Hilo is “not in control and he might destroy the other robot.” Gina is able to create vines that go through the ape’s body; the vine takes down the ape by popping its arms off. The battle takes place over 21 pages.
- While in a military institution, the scientist fixes the mechanical animal that then attacks. The scientist made the creature nine times stronger. Hilo shoots lasers at the creature’s head. Two army men shoot at the creature, but it deflects the shot and blows up the army men’s vehicle. Hilo saves the men and eventually takes the creature down with an ice blast. Hilo goes to sleep and falls to the ground. The scene takes place over eight pages.
- While Hilo is injured a mechanical creature knocks over the military doctors and tries to communicate with Hilo. When the creature touches Hilo’s hand, it causes Hilo to remember the past. The creature shows Hilo’s home planet being destroyed and the creature says, “They made me into a weapon. They made me destroy my own kind. I asked them to let me stop. But they kept sending me back to destroy more. And more. And more. Just robots like you and me. Robots who were only doing what humans made them do.” Gina appears and uses magic against the creature. The scene takes place over two chapters.
Drugs and Alcohol
- “Holy Mackerel” is used as an expression occasionally.
- Polly is a magical warrior cat and an “apprentice sorceress third class.”