Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell
In 1860s England, each little town has its own monster that terrorizes its population. And they love it! In fact, there is money to be made if your town has a popular monster. It brings in tourism and you can sell merchandise too. However, the monster at Stoker-on-Avon was not a popular monster. He barely left his cave anymore, sulking on the hill above the town. Rayburn was one depressed monster. It is up to Dr. Charles Wilkie, an inventor whose workshop was shut down by the town and who is willing to do almost anything to get it back, and Timothy, a street urchin who snuck along, to get Rayburn back in fighting spirit again. This graphic novel is packed with new friends, old pals, big battles, and amazing monsters.
Harrell took this graphic novel quickly out of any stereotypical themes very quickly by having the populations appreciate their monsters so thoroughly. The mix of delight and monsters is great fun, adding a real unexpected twist to the story. Rayburn is a wonderful character with a gloomy perspective that plays nicely off of the enthusiasm of the human characters.
Harrell’s art is filled with color and dynamic movement. He brilliantly captures monster battles and is equally successful at creating friendship bonds between characters. The art welcomes children to enter the world of the book, where they will find a great mashup of modern art and humor with a historical fantasy setting.
Fun, vivid and filled with action, this graphic novel will prove popular in every library. Appropriate for ages 8-12.
Reviewed from library copy.