Monday, May 19, 2014

Monster on the Hill

Monster on the Hill
Rob Harrell
4 / 5

Published 2013

Publisher's Description:
In a fantastical 1860s England, every quiet little township is terrorized by a ferocious monster--much to the townsfolk's delight! Each town's unique monster is a source of local pride, not to mention tourism. 

Each town, that is...except for one. 

Unfortunately, for the people of Stoker-on-Avon, their monster isn't quite as impressive. In fact, he's a little down in the dumps. Can the morose Rayburn get a monstrous makeover and become a proper horror? It's up to the eccentric Dr. Charles Wilkie and plucky street urchin Timothy to get him up to snuff, before a greater threat turns the whole town to kindling. 

Monsters of all ages are sure to enjoy this tale about life's challenges, the power of friendship, and creative redemption, packed with epic battles and plenty of wild beasts!

Dear Reader,

As the publisher's description notes, this graphic novel was perhaps written for children, but can easily be enjoyed by any reader.  My boyfriend and I both devoured the book in one sitting, and we thought it was really well done.  The concept itself was so unique: a Victorian England where each town has its own monster, which is not scary but rather their claim to fame - as well as a strong source of tourist revenue.  So Stoker-on-Avon is disappointed to have a very ineffective monster, and they decide something must be done about it.  A disgraced doctor and a vagabond boy are roped into looking into the situation, and the story unfolds from there.  What I loved most (besides the great illustrations) were all of the little asides and sarcastic comments which peppered the story - things that could almost go unnoticed without a sharp eye.  The illustrations only add to the reader's enjoyment.  The story is definitely one of learning to be happy with oneself, and to own and make the most of what you have to offer.  But it's certainly done quite differently this time!  Who would've thought of using town monsters and their self-esteem to teach such a lesson?

This book was recommended by a co-worker with excellent taste, and I will continue to follow her recommendations if all of them are as good as this one!

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