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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monster On The Hill, written and illustrrated by Rob Harrell. Top Shelf Productions, 2013. $19.95 ages 8 and up

"The MURK??
Yes. The Murk is very much real
and e's bloody dangerous.
I...I thought he was just a legend!
A Myth!
He's real, Ray. And as long as
your town is unmonstered, it's a
sitting duck. When the Murk is finished, all that will be remain of Stoker-on-Avon will be a faint stain on the countryside."

Rayburn is not up to his perceived job! Where he lives in Stoker-on-Avon, he is supposed to be the monster that beckons tourists and earns his nineteenth century English home town a boatload of commerce, attracting visitors with a penchant for being frightened half-to-death. He has turned into a loner, and does little to improve the quality of life for his 'people'. Instead, he sulks in his cave where no one sees him.

Can Dr. Charles Wilkie and Timothy change the town's fortune? Can they help Rayburn, and in turn help Stoker-on-Avon? Rayburn is not unlike Eeyore....gloomy and downtrodden with little enthusiasm for life and its many joys. The humans, on the other hand, are endlessly enthusiastic and optimistic. When they go in search of help for Rayburn's difficulties, they unwittingly leave the town unprotected from every town's nemesis, The Murk. And, the Murk is very hungry....

The reader is captivated from the get-go! A Stoker-on-Avon family is visiting Billingwood when a massive and terrifying monster chases them from the general store, and into hiding in a cellar. Of course, they are enamored of the horrific experience and just wish that Rayburn were made of similar 'stuff'. Rob Harrell fills his pages with bold color, delightful storytelling and as much humor as one can take. Readers will be captivated by the monster battles, the friendships, the many details that require close consideration, including the names of the townspeople and even the town's name itself.

Everyone who reads, or shares, this humorous, heartwarming graphic novel is sure to have their funny bone tickled, their heart touched and their need for a group hug enhanced. Get a copy, you won't be sorry!

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