Rikki longs for a pet – any pet, as long as it can do anything she wants it to. It might be cuddly or it might be fierce. It might be large or it might be small. It might even be able to swim or fly. Rikki isn’t convinced by her mother’s assurance that no such pet exists and sure enough, as she falls asleep that night, her dream pet materialises.
Rikki is a little bit scared of this new pet – it becomes a giant, wrestling monster. It sprouts broad and beautiful wings, soaring and swerving with her, into the night sky. Then her monster becomes a tiny fish, swimming past clams and seaweed. Just in time they manage to evade the sea ogre, before embarking on the long journey home. Then, as Rikki snuggles down into her own bed, the monster promises to stay and guard her through the rest of the night. Oddly, Rikki’s mother doesn’t seem to believe her story the next morning, which all goes to show the magic that some adults miss.
The great strength of this book, and one which makes it stand out from the crowd, is the art work. Images are bold, in rich reds and greens, with foil patchwork. Pop artist Peter Blake meets the surrealists to create a series of dream like images as the Monster shape shifts across each opening. It is not only a book to share at bedtime, but also a book to prompt the reader’s own imagination – what would their perfect pet look like and what adventures could they embark on together? Many good picture books take children beyond their pages and into their own imaginative world – this one is no exception.