Sunday, August 27, 2023

Monster Max: This Time It`s Sirius by Robin Bennett - Book Tour

Monster Max: This Time it’s Sirius

Max can turn into a huge monster just by BURPING, and back again when he SNEEZES. Now Max and his best friend Peregrine realise that a dangerous pack of werewolves from Max’s home country of Krit are closing in on him and his family. But Max hasn’t told anyone about Sirius the tiny werewolf cub he found, smuggled home, and decided to keep...

Werewolf cubs are not just for Halloween

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Chapter Five
Butt Fireworks


Frankenstein gave a sort of surprised yeow! and shot through a hole in the wooden panelling of the library – one that Max suspected led to the secret staircase.

Oh, dear, thought Max, just when his cat (and joint best friend) was getting over having Sirius around, firework night had come along.

‘Frankenstein hates fireworks,’ he explained to a puzzled-looking Sirius, who had padded over to inspect the hole. ‘He’ll probably stay in the cellar hunting mice and spiders for a day or two, then make out that nothing happened. I think he’s a bit embarrassed.’

Madame Pinky-Ponky was ‘babysitting’ Max while his parents went to a party across town. Max had been invited but he had asked if he could go to the fireworks at the football ground down the road instead.

‘Don’t eat to many toffee apples,’ his father had said. ‘You remember what happened last time?’ Dad shook his head. ‘Not that anyone could forget what happened last time, least of all the people below us on the big wheel – it went in their hair and everything.’

‘Dad! It wasn’t last time: I was four!’

‘Stop picking on Max, darling. It’s true, he was very little and those apples were very big. And your mother told me you were sick on holiday in Skegness and it dripped through the grating of an iron walkway and people below were in pedalos…’

‘Mum, Dad, can we stop talking about this now, I’m eating.’

‘No, you’re not.’

‘No, but I plan to later: toffee apples and loads of them.’

‘Come on, darling, or we’ll be late,’ said Max’s mum to his dad. ‘Max, be careful. I’ve been getting a funny feeling we’re being watched. Call it a wolf’s instinct.’

‘Um,’ said Max.

‘Sorry,’ said Peregrine, when Max rang him to ask if he wanted to meet at the football ground later. ‘No can do. I’m finishing up the Secret Lair Treehouse tonight. Getting the steel doors on is going to make a bit of noise, and I’m counting on the racket from the fireworks to cover it up.’

‘OK,’ said Max. ‘Can’t wait to see it.’

‘My best work yet,’ said Peregrine proudly and put the phone down.

‘Right.’ Max turned to Sirius. ‘Looks like you’ll be able to come after all. Are you sure you’re not going to be scared of fireworks?’

‘Grrrrr,’ said Sirius, looking small but very brave.

That’s one big difference about having a werewolf for a pet, thought Max as he packed his Monster Max Just in Case Bag and put on a warm coat, they understand everything you say. I wonder what he’ll be like when he can talk and turn into a human? We’ll be great friends, probably.

 As expected, Sirius was a big hit with all the people Max bumped into at the funfair before the fireworks got going. He got his ears scratched, his tummy tickled and lots of tasty morsels from people’s hotdogs and burgers.

They went on the dodgems together and the mini big wheel, then won a coconut, because Max was quite good at throwing things, even when he wasn’t a colossal monster.

‘Here,’ said Max as they walked away, ‘these grow on palm trees and you can eat them.’ Before Max could stop him, Sirius tried to bite the coconut. ‘No, wait, you have to break it open first!’ Max looked about and saw some giant bins by a group of trees. ‘I’ll show you!’

As soon as they got behind the biggest bin, Max burped.

‘Grockie dokie,’ he said, splitting the coconut easily with his claws. ‘Try this.’ It was great not having Peregrine around to tell him not to turn into a monster.

Sirus loved lapping up the milk from his half of the coconut, but didn’t seem to like the nutty white bit, which he spat out.

‘Pah, pah, pah!’

‘Here,’ said Monster Max, handing the thirsty wolf cub his coconut half. ‘Grink mine.’

As Sirius lapped away at the sweet milk, Max couldn’t resist looking in the bin. Hmmm, grummy, thought Monster Max.

A few moments later Monster Max had eaten: several burger wrappings, soggy sandwiches, orange peel, someone’s happy meal (even the pointy toy), sausage rolls, cola cans, hairy toffee, cold coffee, hot dogs (chewed), apple (stewed), nappies (poo’d), Cornish pasties, ice cream goo and a huge pile of…

Wait a sec! His monster senses were suddenly telling him to turn around – right now! In fact, for the last few minutes, he’d been too busy stuffing his face thinking, ‘This is great, Sirius doesn’t judge me,’ to wonder what his friend was up to. Which was why he probably needed to check.

But he was just a second too late. He watched Sirius, his healthy coconut milk finished, cross to a half-eaten stick of candyfloss, open his jaws as wide as he could and…

‘Nooooo!’ cried Monster Max, who really didn’t think candyfloss would be good for werewolves.

Too late: Sirius took a huge puppy bite out of the super-sweet pink cloud on a stick.

And Max could not have been more right about candyfloss and wolf cubs.

As the sugar hit his werewolf brain, with its ancient magic that gave werewolves their power, Sirius froze. His eyes went whirley. He started to vibrate so much that he went sort of fuzzy around the edges.

‘Gririus?’ said Monster Max, worried.

‘Woooooooooooooooooooooooo!’ howled Sirius and shot off like a fluffy rocket.

‘Gro no!’ said Monster Max, leaping after him. ‘Come back!’ he cried, but Sirius, full of sugar rush, was unstoppable. He streaked across the fairground, howling, knocking things over, straight into the one place Max had been avoiding all evening.

The Haunted House.

‘Gro! Really gro!’ groaned Monster Max. Haunted Houses terrified him. Suddenly he wished Peregrine was here.

Perhaps he could wait outside?

But what if Sirius got hurt? He seemed to remember there was an age restriction on these things. Could it be dangerous?

Max took a deep breath and, ignoring the teenager on the door, ran into the scary darkness.

The next few minutes were confusing and terrifying.

For everyone.

The people already inside suddenly found they were sharing a dark, cramped space with a large hairy monster and something howling like a werewolf. People started rushing out screaming, followed by Sirius, who’d somehow got his jaws into a large sausage, followed by Monster Max who was also screaming because he’d got spider web in his eyes and had stubbed his toe on a metal thing.

‘BOOM!’ the first firework went off.

Sirius swallowed the sausage whole and raced towards the fenced-off area where they were set out.

The first thing Max’s amazing monster eyes saw once he’d got the remainder of the web out of his eyes was a large rocket streaking across the sky and – attached to it – a small werewolf.

‘Gaaahhhh!’ he cried in horror and jumped.

Luckily the sky was dark and the people on the ground didn’t have Max’s incredible night vision, or they would have been stunned (and probably pretty impressed) by the sight of a huge orange monster catching a small puppy in mid-air with one hand, and popping a rocket in its mouth with the other, which exploded with a sort of muffled bang.

Purple and red sparks shot out of Monster Max’s bottom as they sailed off into the night sky and landed with a soft flump in some trees far away from the fair and fireworks.

 On the way home a very tired (and happy) Sirius fell asleep in Max’s arms and Max felt pretty good.

Until he looked at his phone.

Come over as soon as you get this. It’s very important! Peregrine.

Author Bio –

When Robin grew up he thought he wanted to be a cavalry officer until everyone else realised that putting him in charge of a tank was a very bad idea. He then became an assistant gravedigger in London. After that he had a career frantically starting businesses (everything from dog-sitting to cigars, tuition to translation)... until finally settling down to write improbable stories to keep his children from killing each other on long car journeys.

 Robin plays most sports. Poorly.


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