Posted by: Lizzie Ross | March 22, 2010

Alan Snow’s Monsters

Here Be Monsters! Alan Snow (2005), Atheneum, 528 pp.

Cabbageheads, boxtrolls, trotting badgers, wild English cheeses–a few of the monsters that are here. The hero, Arthur, lives under Ratbridge with his grandfather, but gets caught up in skull-duggery of the worst sort when he goes above ground to scrounge some food. Rats, pirates, crows, a lawyer, a prisoner with a walloper, and the monsters listed above enter the tale at various points, helping or hindering as they are able.  The story alone would be enough, but …

The bonus here is Snow’s illustrations, scratchy but detailed pen and ink drawings that surprise and enchant: squat villains with tall top hats, arms that curve rather than bend, police bicycles with octagonal wheels (“dodgy tanners”), and, of course, those monsters. Two thirds of the way through, I noticed the running header changed with each chapter, so I stopped reading to go back and look at what I’d missed.

Kids will enjoy Snow’s sense of the absurd (cheeses that act and sound like sheep, pirates who decide to take in laundry). This can be a great read-aloud book, one that everyone can giggle over. I’m hoping now for further adventures of Arthur and his pals.



  1. Cool. I recognize the book mark. Now 6000 more books to go!

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