THE CREAKERS by TOM FLETCHER
Reviewed by Miss Walsh
STAR RATING: ⭐⭐⭐
RECOMMENDED YEAR GROUP: 3/4
INTERESTS: monsters, friends, Scouts, mess!, magic, other worlds
THEMES: environment, growing up, responsibility, accepting differences, missing parents
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU’LL LOVE:
The Girl with the Lost Smile by Miranda Hart,
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton,
Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles) by Suzanne Collins
MY THOUGHTS: a new twist on an idea that probably goes as far back as when beds were invented!
Lucy is in the middle of dealing with the fact that her dad has disappeared (she does NOT believe he has left them for another woman like everyone else does) when she wakes up one morning to find her mum gone as well. Only it’s not just her mum, it’s Norman’s and Ella’s parents too, in fact it is all the grown ups from everywhere in their town. Initially the children revel in their adultless situation, no school, eating sweets, no bedtimes etc. But very quickly it descends into chaos with no one in charge. Lucy is sure something strange is afoot and when her neighbours are having the same dream about things under the bed she realises perhaps they’re not dreams after all. The things under the bed are very, very real. In a bid to rescue the adult’s Lucy and her friends lay a trap for the creakers (the creatures under the bed) which of course doesn’t quite go according to plan. Lucy takes it upon herself to enter their world under the bed, which is a portal into the Woleb, where she must contend with the strange magic of the place to bring the grown ups back.
I really enjoy Norman’s character in this book. He is a Scout (the only one in the town!) and is portrayed as the loner, outsider, one that’s a bit odd and everyone whispers about it kind of thing, but Norman is not at all fazed by this. He gets on with his business and he does it really well. His skills come in handy several times throughout the story and the other characters begin to see the value he has had as a friend all along. Lovely to use for PSHE topics, looking at differences and understanding others. This could also be good for fantasy topics as it’s a more unusual type of portal into a fantasy world (not your usual door/wall/wardrobe situation!) The back to front upside downness of the Woleb could lead to some interesting writing too, creating their own version of the Woleb and what is changed there. Lucy displays really strength of character in the face of uncertainty and she has many qualities of a good leader and role model that could be explored.
I was however rather conflicted whilst reading as to whether I would share it with my fairly young year 3 class. The monsters under the bed are described in a reasonably menacing manner however the illustrations really tone them down. The book also assigns all the noises houses make at night, which the children will recognise, as belonging to the creakers, that coupled with the fact that they snatch people is not going to create a pleasant image for some children! I know that the dark and monsters can be a very sensitive subject for some that we may think is silly or nonsense, but I don’t think it should be dismissed out of hand and would just be something to think about.
A fresh take on an old idea with a good twist. An enjoyable, fairly quick read.