Children's Books

Monster Trucks: Mega City Cup – Review

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The second title in the Monster Trucks series from TADO is fast-paced, entertaining and full of charming illustrations.

Artistic duo TADO – consisting of UK-based designers Mike and Katie – have featured on everything from toys and fashion to advertising campaigns, and their eye-catching books are sure to attract young fans of both Moshi Monsters and Disney’s Cars.

This story follows the latest adventure of the Monster Truck team, a colourful and varied ensemble of monsters who pass the time by racing together. The plot twist comes as Masher, the “bad boy” of the group, switches a road sign to deceive the other racers.

After a detour along the skate rails under the highway and blasting back onto the course, the smallest truck takes the lead and claims victory, as opposed to the cheating Masher. Meanwhile, after realising one of their friends has disappeared, the other racers abandon the race to find him. They soon return together safe and sound, before celebrating their friend’s victory, whilst a repentant Masher apologises for cheating.

The most endearing quality of this picture book is the sheer diversity of the illustrated monster characters filling the page at every turn, coming in all shapes, sizes and colours. You could easily pad out the story and engage with your child by pointing out all the interesting oddities that show up to support the Monster Truck racers.

These cartoon characters also show an amusing range of emotions that will soon have you chuckling. Not an inch of space is wasted and the text is so unobtrusive, kids can glance anywhere on the page and see something fun.

The lead characters have complimentary talents and personalities that drive the action in a way that makes sense. As you would expect, the tone is simple and straightforward, but the overall presentation is very expressive. There is even a nice lesson at the end about the importance of friendship over personal gain. Some sillier moments can also be found, such as one of the monster truck racers taking a break from the race to eat popcorn!

The writing is easy enough to follow for kids and the storytelling tight and punchy, with just the right amount of variation in the vocabulary. Jon Hinton has made it easy for younger readers to discern the meanings of words without particular struggle, so – with help from the bright pictures – language acquisition should happen intuitively. More importantly, there is an energy and sense of momentum in the writing that makes every page more engaging.

Mega City Cup is a fun addition to the Monster Trucks series with oodles of character. The plot isn’t particularly memorable, but the personality of the illustrations makes this a really playful read for little ones.

Monster Trucks: Mega City Cup is available for £6.99 at Amazon.