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An interview with Robin Bennett about Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting and his favourite funny books for kids

Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting by Robin Bennett. Book cover and author photograph.

We are thrilled to be sharing Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting by Robin Bennett with our Parakeet readers in their May subscription boxes. It’s super silly, laugh-out-loud fun with some important messages about difference and working as a team. Here Robin tells us what inspired the book and gives us his top funny book recommendation for anyone who enjoyed Monster Max.

What inspired you to write Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting?

The inspiration was Paddington Bear (and books like it). A perfectly normal setting in all respects except one huge one: in Paddington's case, a talking bear (from Peru); in Max's case, a boy who burps and turns into a hairy monster (from the smallest, most hiddenest country in the world, Krit).

Where did the idea of the bobble hat of forgetting come from?

Divine inspiration. Plus, no-one truly bad ever wore a bobble hat.

Tom Tinn-Disbury’s illustrations really bring the book to life. Do they depict Monster Max the way you imagined him?

Yes and no. I loved working with Tom because he 'got' the feel of the setting and the characters from the off (Max, the scruffy boy, his parents, his disreputable cat, normal/not really normal house etc) but he surprised me with Max the monster (in a good way) - the bright orange fur made me spill my tea.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

No (on purpose). Out of necessity in the early days with small children and a job, I had to just get on with it and write anywhere I had a spare moment - trains, cafes, swimming baths, kitchen, downstairs loo ...

Why did you choose to write books for children?

To make my children proud of their dad ... there, I finally said it. I'm that shallow.

What was your favourite book as a child?

Danny the Champion of the World spoke to me on almost every level. Not least because we were poor and our lifestyle was very similar. It also showed me it was OK, even cool, to not quite fit in and to have an eccentric parent.

What other funny books for kids would you recommend our subscribers read next?

The Monster Spotters Handbook, by Matt Cherry. If Spike Milligan and Roald Dahl had collaborated on Monsters Inc, this would have been the result. Brilliant, bonkers and hilarious.

If you had a bobble hat of forgetting, how would you use it?

For good, only. 

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