It’s called “low fantasy”, in that it is a fantastical story but isn’t a sweeping epic, but rather a very personal tale. The original book was published in 2011. It was written for children by Patrick Ness “from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd”, illustrated by Jim Kay, and published by Walker in 2011. Set in present-day England, it features a boy who struggles to cope with the consequences of his mother’s terminal cancer; he is repeatedly visited in the middle of the night by a monster who tells stories. Dowd suffered from terminal cancer herself when she started the story and died before she could write it.
Most of us have, at some time in our lives, felt powerless and abandoned by the world as this young man has been. The monster is a metaphor for his internal struggle, but it bridges the gap into the real world by way of a special magic.
Patrick Ness and illustrator Kay won the Carnegie Medal and the Greenaway Medal in 2012, the “year’s best” children’s literary awards by the British librarians (CILIP). A Monster Calls is the only book whose author and illustrator, whether two persons or one, have won both Medals.
Lewis MacDougall plays the lead role of Felicity Jones plays the boy’s mother; Sigourney Weaver plays his grandmother. A Monster Calls is due out in the U.S. on October 21, 2016.