Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

The Monster’s Ring

Posted by nliakos on June 29, 2006

by Bruce Coville.

This appears to have been written with younger readers in mind, compared with Jennifer Murdley’s Toad. The protagonist, Russell, is only in fifth grade. The book begins predictably, with runty Russell being pursued into his beloved swamp by bullies, finding himself in a part of the swamp–and then a part of his hometown–which he does not recognize, and discovering S. H. Elives’ Magic Shop, where he acquires a magical ring which transforms him into a monster. It happens to be Halloween, so Russell uses the ring to “dress up” for the school Halloween parade, with startling results. But he has not bothered to read Mr. Elives’ directions very carefully, so he gets into a lot of trouble and is almost stuck in his monster’s guise forever. He has to find the Magic Shop again and seek Mr. Elives’ help, but even the old magician cannot completely undo the harm Russell has done by not following the directions he was given: a cautionary tale for 5th graders!

This is the shortest, and for both me and my 13-year-old, the least satisfying, of the four Magic Shop series books.


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