Word Nerd Book Review: Monster on the Hill
by Trisha Quezada
I have small nerds. 2 of them! They’re 9 and 6, and while they love to read, I’ve found that this is a tough age when it comes to finding books that have a challenging enough vocabulary, but still have pictures or subjects that appeal. Enter, the graphic novel! I was a precocious and strange child so I went straight to reading novels at 8. That’s not happening with my small nerds (I tried), but we’ve discovered that we can enjoy graphic novels together.
The current favorite is Monster on the Hill. The illustrations are fantastic – vibrant, expressive, detailed, appropriate for all ages – and the story line is one that the whole family can enjoy. We read it aloud a few times, and now my older nerd child takes it to bed and reads it until he falls asleep every night.
Stoker-on-Avon has a monster problem. Their monster isn’t performing to expectations. No attacks for over 536 days! It’s up to the Governor and the local street urchin to find out what’s going on and solve this problem so their town is no longer an embarrassment. The monster has a confidence problem, the urchin gets turned into a mushroom and needs the fruit of a psychotree, the Murk attacks while the town is unguarded, all kinds of misfortune arises and must be resolved. And of course there’s a happily ever after.
It’s fun, funny, and delightful. You really shouldn’t miss this one.
Plus, once you’ve read it a few dozen times, you can convince your small nerd to move on to Harrell’s other books like “Life of Zarf – the Trouble with Weasels”. These also have drawings to keep the kids engaged, but they’re chapter books and the stories are funny enough to keep kids interested. Plus, they’re worth a good amount of AR points (4-5 depending on which volume), if your kid’s school tracks those.