Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Monster's Ring

The Monster's Ring

Bruce Coville
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Harcourt, 2005   ISBN: 978-0152052171

Russell Crannaker is in trouble. Eddie, the bully who goes out of his way to make Russell's life miserable, is after him - again. In desperation Russell makes a run for it. His town is not very big and Russell thought he knew all the streets, but somehow he now finds himself on a street that he does not recognize. There are lots of little shops along the street including one called Mr. Elives' Magic Supplies. Eddie loves anything to do with magic, especially around the time of Halloween, so he eagerly goes into the shop.

When he comes out again Russell is one dollar poorer and he is holding a box containing a ring. According to the instructions that come with the ring, it will turn the wearer into a monster. At first Russell scoffs at the whole idea. He is sure that the ring is just a gimmick that doesn't do anything. But then he decides to try it out. He does what the directions say – he turns the ring around his finger once and he says some magic words. To his amazement Russell does indeed turn into a monster - a horrific beast covered with hair, with horns on its head, and with a deep growly voice. Russell is both terrified and delighted. What could be better for a boy who has a passion for monsters? He quickly ascertains that the spell is easy to reverse, and then he decides that he has the best costume ever for Halloween. He will go as himself – in monster form. Russell is so thrilled with his monster ring that he does not pay adequate attention to the directions that came with the ring – something which he will come to regret a great deal on Halloween night.

Bruce Coville is a master storyteller whose plots are gripping and whose characters are unforgettable. Readers who love monsters and the excitement of Halloween will be captivated and they will be delighted to know that this is just one in a series of books about Mr. Elives's Magic Supplies shop. Coville not only tells a great story but he also addresses the problem of bullying in school. If only we could all give the bullies in our lives a good scare the way Russell is able to do.