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Monster on the Hill
     

Monster on the Hill

by Rob Harrell
 

Top Shelf is proud to announce the arrival of Rob Harrell, creator of the syndicated comic strip Big Top, and his first graphic novel series, Monster on the Hill. 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

Overview

Top Shelf is proud to announce the arrival of Rob Harrell, creator of the syndicated comic strip Big Top, and his first graphic novel series, Monster on the Hill. 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!
"Really fun, goofy, extremely silly fantasy for readers of all ages, crying out for reviewers and critics to make appalling puns of the 'monstrously good' variety." — Neil Gaiman

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lots of folks enjoy a good scare, and that’s certainly true of the inhabitants of the alternate England in this goofy adventure from Harrell, creator of the comic strip Big Top. The year is 1867, and monsters are terrorizing England’s towns—much to the delight of their citizens (it’s great for tourism). The one exception is Stoker-on-Avon (one of many nods to classic literature that Harrell tucks into the story), whose monster, Rayburn, is rather depressed. “Day 536 Without Monster Attack,” shouts a newspaper headline. “Disappointment Palpable in Streets.” It’s up to a semi-disgraced scientist/inventor, Dr. Charles Wilkie, and Timmy, a “town crier/street urchin,” to help Rayburn get his groove (and growl) back. Harrell’s exuberant, cinematic cartooning plays up the fun of his mashup concept; despite the 19th-century setting, the dialogue is determinedly modern (with references to Hot Pockets, group hugs, and “deep tissue work”) in a way that recalls the Shrek films. But the anachronisms in no way damper the fun—the jokes pile up as quickly as the carnage when Rayburn monsters up to save his town. Ages 10–up. (July)
From the Publisher
"Really fun, goofy, extremely silly fantasy for readers of all ages, crying out for reviewers and critics to make appalling puns of the 'monstrously good' variety." — Neil
Gaiman

Children's Literature - Brandon West
Harrell’s first foray into graphic novels will engage you in a humorous world of monsters and men. The Victorian town of Stoker-on-Avon has a serious problem. Rayburn, the town monster, will not wreak havoc on the town. While this seems like a good thing, it is upsetting to the townspeople who wish more destruction would take place; for reasons of feeling protected from outside threats. The story follows Timothy, the town crier and street urchin, and Dr. Charles Wilkie, as they investigate what is wrong with Rayburn. The duo learns that Rayburn is suffering from some depressive symptoms that stem from his feelings of inadequacy. Timothy and Dr. Wilkie take Rayburn on a voyage to meet a popular monster named Tentaculor, in hopes of restoring Rayburn to his former self. Through Tentaculor’s interventions, Rayburn is able to gain his confidence and save Stoker-on-Avon from a menacing force. The story is witty and features enough twists and turns to make reading it a memorable experience. Harrell’s illustrations bring the characters to life and are integral to the story’s humorous moments. This graphic novel will engage its target audience of eight to thirteen year olds as well as adults, which will make it an excellent addition any library’s graphic novel collection. Reviewer: Brandon West; Ages 8 to 13.
School Library Journal
11/01/2013
Gr 3–5—Families from the town of Stoker-on-Avon are forced to go on vacation to get a decent monster thrill since their own monster inspires very little fear. In an effort to help him get back his confidence, a lovable, scrappy orphan and a mad genius doctor take him on a journey to reunite with other monster friends. Unfortunately this leaves their town open to attack by the dreaded Murk. The three manage to save the day without any real gore or over-the-top violence. This amusing tale set in an 1860s England in which every town has its own monster will please elementary students. Harrell's cartooning style is colorful and approachable. While it is not particularly innovative, it is well suited to the light and humorous story. The dialogue is full of witty quips and an interesting mix of modern British slang and formal old-fashioned phrasing. Harrell is best known for his syndicated comics, and his first stand-alone book will appeal to children looking for a funny adventure.—Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Kirkus Reviews
In an alternative 19th-century England, monsters both thrill and protect their towns. In Stoker-on-Avon, the townsfolk have been feeling a bit dismayed; their monster, a horned, winged creature named Rayburn, hasn't attacked in nearly seven years, and his lack of ambition serves as a constant embarrassment to his village. A disgraced doctor is asked to help "fix" the melancholic monster, and once he accepts, he discovers that a precocious street urchin has stowed along for the ride. The pair and the bummed-out beast set out to visit one of Rayburn's old creature friends, a savage-looking beast with a heart of gold popularly known as Tentaculor, but affectionately to his friends as Noodles. This leaves Stoker-on-Avon vulnerable and without a monster. Rayburn's absence is intuited by an abominable being known as the Murk, a mixture of mud, hair, and pure, unrefined evil. Faced with the imminent destruction of his town, Rayburn must overcome his dolorous disposition and rediscover his true terrifying powers. More at-home than anomalous, Harrell's world is easily accessible, a place where monsters seamlessly blend into 19th-century England. Touching deftly upon well-trod themes and with a deliciously cinematic sense of both framing and pacing, this indie charmer is both quirky and novel; expect it to appeal to fans of Jeff Smith's Bone series. Just plain monstrous fun. (Graphic fantasy. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781603090759
Publisher:
IDW Publishing
Publication date:
08/06/2013
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
253,864
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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