The More Monster, written and illustrated by Hayley Wells

The More Monster – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: more, more, more, more & more.
Children’s book title: The More Monster.
Children’s author: Hayley Wells
Children’s illustrator: Hayley Wells.
Genre: picture book.
Published by: Pavilion Children’s.
ISBN: 9781843654698
Recommended for children aged: 4+
This edition published: Paperback February 2022.
This children’s book is ideal for: reading to classes in KS1 and discussing the wider issues with children in KS2.

The More Monster, written and illustrated by Hayley Wells

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Our review:

One day at school, when I was about twelve, talking to a chum in a general way about something (I can’t remember what) I expressed a mild opinion, to which he replied, ‘That’s what they want you think.’ It was the first time I’d heard that sentence.

A few years later, working as a student in a coffee factory, I learnt that ‘instant coffee granules’ were, in fact, the result of a malfunction in the machinery in a newly-built factory, which should have produced the usual instant coffee powder. They just couldn’t get it right, so they sold the stuff anyway, pretending it was a ‘new, improved taste experience.’ I was also told that the original ‘instant powdered coffee’ was only a by-product, which would otherwise be thrown away, still leaving a massive profit from the sale of vegetable oil, which was the whole point of the process in the first place. The same was true of cocoa, shipped in dirt cheap from countries which we stole during the expansion of ‘the empire.’

The More Monster by Hayley Wells - spread 1

Years after that, when I was a teacher, I would always present the following demonstration, to classes of all ages, at some time in the year:

Place on the desk a pint glass, half-filled with water. Add a tablespoon of orange cordial. Use the spoon to continue filling the glass with sugar, until the mixture was a near-solid paste. Stick on the side of the glass a label I’d prepared earlier, saying NO ADDED SUGAR.

Now, whenever I bump into an ex-pupil (something which happens more and more rarely these days) they always say they remember ‘that thing you did with the orange juice and the sugar.’

The More Monster by Hayley Wells - spread 2

My aim as an English teacher was to achieve two things, both equally important in my view.

First, I wanted to show pupils how language could enrich, illuminate and beautify our perception of the world, of others and our relationships with them.

But I also wanted to warn them, and to help them develop the skills and mental apparatus with which they could recognise those occasions when language might be used to mislead people, to distort reality, to twist logic.

For at least a hundred years a massive idea has been smuggled into our heads, daily, constantly. It’s that THIS (our tiny place in the world, our possessions, the way others regard us, what we eat, how we feel, time itself) can never be enough. Only THAT (more travel, more things, bigger things, more of everything) will bring us happiness and truth.

And the ‘right’ language is essential to the success of the endless-growth-project.

Hayley Wells has produced a brilliant, funny book that is bound to spark serious questions in the minds of any youngster who reads it.

More urgently than ever now, we need the coming generation to hear the warnings hammering on the door. The More Monster comes with a key to open that door and let in a little light.
The More Monster by Hayley Wells - spread 3

How to use The More Monster in the classroom

The More Monster is a great picture book to read and share with KS1 children. Children will identify with the themes of fairness, and greediness, and when discussing the value of sharing with each other, this story will prove to be a valuable resource.

For KS2 children, this picture book is ideal to provoke and develop discussions in PSHCE lessons, particularly when examining the concepts of right and wrong, the negative effects of consumerism on the environment, society and families; the importance of representation and listening to everyone’s views, and asking the question in P4C lessons – what is happiness?

With KS3 students, the philosophical and sociological concepts in this story would be a useful starting point to discuss how to deal with difficult people, how to cope with situations where there is a power imbalance in a relationship, the negative societal effects of consumerism – particularly around Christmas and New Year, and the environmental impact of a never-ending supply of products. The illustrations are also useful to examine to help make some of the key narrative themes in Animal Farm by George Orwell more accessible.

The More Monster by Hayley Wells is also featured as one of our April 2022 book club picks.

Many thanks to Pavillion Children’s for the review copy.

If you like The More Monster by Hayley Wells you might also like: The Little Thing by Nick Cave, Brilliant Brainz magazine, When Creature Met Creature by John Agard, A Million Dots by Sven Völker, The If Machine by Peter Worley, Happy Healthy Minds by the School of Life, Challenge Everything by Blue Sandford and our list of books to make children think.

Browse more books for KS2

About Laurence Inman

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Laurence is an actor, poet, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, cartoonist, public speaker, retired lecturer, and former English teacher. IMDb | Linkedin | Reviews by Laurence Inman