Young Werewolf by Cornelia Funke

(8.8/10) Fans of Inkheart will instantly warm to her take on a classic movie monster we have all come to know

Matt comes home from the cinema when he is scratched by a werewolf, and bit by bit his life begins to change from being normal to being almost unbearable. Lisa and Mrs Ruskin try to help him out in finding a cure for his curse, and with only two days to go, there is the possibility that he might be a werewolf forever.

Matt goes from loveable kid to unsuspecting werewolf almost overnight. He goes through all the changes associated with lycanthropes; the yellow eyes, fanged teeth and excess body hair that springs up at awful times around his friends and parents. Matt continues his change as he has no choice but to surrender to his becoming a werewolf sooner or later. It is only his friends who keep him something like sane though he is afraid that anyone else will find out the truth of what happened that dark and terrible night. He realises that he might not get away with them seeing him in a form other than human and that saddens him beyond belief.

Matt is lucky to have his friend Lisa around as she tells him once he is scratched that he must go get a tetanus jab at the doctors' surgery. He doesn't act like a standard boy in front of Lisa; he likes watching horror movies, but hates the sight of blood in real life but he is also afraid of the dark and shadowy creatures waiting in alleyways. In comparison, Lisa seems fearless, helping him get his life back to normal, yet she doesn't realise until much later that he's about to become a werewolf.

This story reminded me of the old werewolf movies starring Lon Chaney Jnr. and the references to the fate of those who are scratched or bitten by a werewolf - that they too become one when the moon is full. Illustrated by David Roberts, this is a gripping story of a boy who slowly turns into a werewolf and can't live as ordinary a life as he would like. I enjoyed reading about the changes to his body, and also the emotional problems he faced as a young wolf. Fans of Cornelia Funke's other novel Inkheart will instantly warm to her take on a classic movie monster we have all come to know and love.

Germany's answer to Darren Shan, she is most famous for her novel Inkheart which has been adapted for a Hollywood movie. She has won many awards for her novels including the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the Best Translated Children's Book of the Year and the Book Sense Book of the Year Award. First published as Kleiner Werewolf by Cecilie Dressler Verlag GmbH, Hamburg in Germany, this novel is a ten chapter one that starts with "An Eerie Encounter."

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