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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Book Of Moncoto is a work of middle-grade fantasy fiction and magical realism written by author Mosetta Penick Phillips-Cermak. The central figure to the tale is Dawn Marie Baxter, who is twelve years old and somewhat precocious and cynical for her age. When she and her grandmother are killed in a boating accident, Nana is keen to embrace the magical afterlife world in which they find themselves, but Dawn is not so sure. What results is a journey through fantastical mysteries and plenty of danger, as Dawn decides that she is determined to return herself and her grandmother back to the village where they lost their lives.
Fascinating and surreal, this is a somewhat sophisticated read that might be better as a read-along or group discussion with younger members of the middle grade reading age. Confident readers are sure to adore the magical realism elements and fantasy settings that Dawn experiences and the atmospheric and descriptive work done to bring these to life is truly excellent. Additional imagery helps the chapters develop and keeps readers engaged, whilst the character development arc around Dawn is realistically paced out to give her time to explore both her great ideas and her shortcomings. The plot is indeed a strong element of the work too, with author Mosetta Penick Phillips-Cermak giving great thought to the layout of clues and the unraveling of the mystery elements throughout. Overall, The Book Of Moncoto is a complex but rewarding read for its audience and their reading buddies.