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The Monster’s Ring
by Bruce Coville
Here is a funny, scary, magical story told by an author who had a deep insight into the feelings and problems of middle-school-aged children perhaps because he is a school teacher, a parent, and a child at heart himself. Its also the beginning of a series of four books about children very much like yourself, who enter a world of fantasy and excitement when they stumble into the Magic Supply Shop owned by Mr. Elives (say that name aloud!).
In The Monster’s Ring, the child is Russel Crannaker, who has been pushed around by the schoolyard bully one too many times. A basically good boy, Russell is beginning to develop an anger problem. Perhaps as an exercise in anger management, Mr. Elives sells him a ring that can turn Russell into a horrible, horned monster. Just in time for Halloween, too! But what begins as a harmless little joke, with perhaps a touch of getting even, gets out of control.
This book is both the first and the last in the series of Magic Shop Books by Bruce Coville. It is the first because it was originally published in 1982, but it is also the last because the author revised and expanded the story in 2002 after he had written the other three books. As it now reads, the story sets up a delightful pattern that is repeated, with charming variations, in Jennifer Murdley’s Toad; Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher; and The Skull of Truth. Between them, these books have won the state Childrens Book Award in no fewer than nine states, plus an IRA Childrens Choice and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. So, if you or your child would like to make a magical discovery, be sure to visit the Magic Shop.