Here Be Monsters!
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Here Be Monsters!

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  438 ratings  ·  87 reviews

Skulduggery is afoot!

Welcome to Ratbridge. But beware -- for there is skulduggery afoot. Young Arthur has fallen foul of the appalling outlaw, Snatcher, and is trapped alone in the town with every way home sealed. Meanwhile Snatcher and his men are working tirelessly in secret on a fiendish and dastardly plan to take over -- and destroy -- the entire town. With the help

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Paperback, 544 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published November 5th 1988)
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Bought (or Read) It For the Cover
67th out of 108 books — 8 voters
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Young Adult fiction by UK authors
191st out of 242 books — 307 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,107)
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Jon
I read this book on (10-yr-old) Alex's recommendation,and it was pretty good. It is a very quirky, unusual book which takes place in an "alternate universe" populated with unusual creatures who live side-by-side (and underground) with people.

I can't summarize it any better than Amazon:

"Ratbridge is populated by a variety of odd creatures and equally unusual humans. Underlings, including boxtrolls (shy trolls that wear boxes) and cabbageheads (they worship cabbage and wear them tied to their hea...more
Shayne
Despite a slow-ish start, my little one and I ended up really enjoying this book. Up until this, we'd done most just fantasy for our "read aloud nights," so this was a bit of a departure.

How do I classify this book? Young Adult semi-Steampunk with an absurdist twist? Yeah, I guess that works as well as anything.

The story takes place in the city of Ratbridge. There are human characters, anthropomorphic animal characters, and pure fantastical creatures such as boxtrolls and cabbageheads. Oh, and...more
Annie
I've had this book for a couple years now. I remember buying at Borders back in either 2005 or 2006 when I was 9 and read probably twice as much as I do now. I also remember never being able to finish this book. There was something about it. Maybe I just didn't find it interesting then or maybe it was the 500 page length of the book. Whatever it was, I could never finish it.

I couple days ago I found this book on my bookshelf and decided to give it another read. I still didn't like it. The main...more
Harriet Moar-smith
Jan 21, 2012 Harriet Moar-smith rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
I loved this book so much. It's what got me into this genre of books, kind of a 'steampunk' thing from an alternative world. I loved all the characters and they were all so quirky. I really couldn't put it down, and I mean that literally. I pulled an all-nighter before going on holiday just to finish this book. I don't care it's meant to be aimed at a younger audience I would reccomend this to anyone, it was so feel good but not in a sickening way.
Gaston Dorren
I'm not sure how I would feel about this book if I were child, but as an adult, I find it disappointing. I like fantastic and whimsical stuff, but it should all come together in the end, to give the story coherence and generate interest. There is much too little of that. Why do the cabbageheads have cabbages on their heads, why are the boxtrolls covered in boxes? If we don't get to hear that, at the very least these cabbages and boxes should play an interesting role in the story. The book is so...more
Gail Gauthier
"However, Here Be Monsters! is filled with Pythonesque creatures and characters. Cheese, for instance, is not a dairy product. It is a lifeform that bleats and has legs and is hunted a la foxes. (Though the cheese hunts are supposed to have been outlawed like fox hunting.) The cheese hunters ride atop fake burlesque horses operated by two other humans. The humans operating the horses take turns riding and the cheese hunters rotate down to take their turns as part of the fake horse.

Other strange...more
Ishmael
Presonall, this book is one of the most original I have read. I feel it really appeals to all ages, as I feel adults can enjoy it for it's fresh take on the world, while children can enjoy it for it's colorful cast of characters and illustrations. For those of you who haven't read it, I'll try to put the plot in a nutshell: We begin with our hero, a boy named Arthur, in a flying machine flapping above the streets of Ratbridge, about to steal food to feed his grandfather, who is in the undergroun...more
Rowan
Here Be Monsters! I though was a really cute and clever book.

When I saw a trailer for the upcoming movie The BoxTrolls, I thought it looked good, so I wanted to read the book for the movie first to see if it was any good. Well, it was more than good. It was great!

I really liked all of the creatures in the book. They were very unique in their own way. There were the boxtrolls (a group of trolls who live in boxes and are very good with mechanics; and they're really cute) There were cabbageheads (...more
Heather
This book was odd. The pictures on the cover and throughout the book intrigued me, and I picked it up at the library. The story was seriously lacking, though, and about halfway through I decided life was too short and returned it to the library.
DeAnne
Alan Snow's books are reminiscent of a kinder, gentler Roald Dahl. Snow captures the concept of whimsical surrealism, but without the dark underpinnings that are at the heart of almost all Dahl books.

The book's protaganist is a smally boy named Authur, who has lived underground with his grandfather for all of his life. We meet Arthur as he is wearing a flying contraption that consists of leathery wings and a box with a crank, quietly fluttering across the night sky above the town of Ratbridge....more
Madeline
This book...

Okay, I only picked it up because LAIKA is doing their next movie off of it. I had never heard of The Boxtrolls (Here Be Monsters!) until I dug into some research about their next movie. I can say, I am rather pleased and it really is a story only they could pull off with animation, especially the stop-motion medium. I also see why they would consider using this book for their next film.

A lot was crammed all together at once. I did not know what was going on for a bit, at least, I kn...more
R.John
I read this book b/c of the new movie coming out BOXTROLLS from Laika! I am totally excited about that. So I thought, why not read the source material. Its big and thick and has over 500 illustrations - so really! Its a good story too. With a lot of action and tight scrapes and a great mix of monsters and other sorts of creatures. Very British humour as well - meaning there are not too many underpants jokes. I really love the idea of the Nautical Laundry, so I might have to read all about that a...more
Richard Rogers
This is a cute kids book, but it is more notable for its characters and settings than for the writing. The author's drawings are clever, but don't make up for weak prose and awkward plotting.

I imagine young readers would enjoy being in this world for the length of the book, with its boxtrolls and comic villains and impossible inventions. However, it's too bad the author couldn't match his inventiveness to a more compelling story.
Jean-Marie
I read this to my 7-year-old because he is very excited about the release of the movie The Boxtrolls later this year. The movie is based on this book. Now that I've read the book and seen the trailers for the movie I'm going to say the movie is very loosely based on the book, perhaps the only thing they have in common are the boxtrolls. This was a fun read with lots fun illustrations. I know my 7-year-old enjoyed it quite a bit (which is reflected in my rating), however I personally would probab...more
Jann Barber
I think I read about this book on Tumblr because it was to be made into an animated feature film and it sounded interesting.

I don't even know how to describe this book. It takes place in Ratbridge and the adventure begins when Arthur, equipped with his wings and flying box, comes up from underground where he lives with his adoptive grandfather. Boxtrolls and cabbageheads also live underground. Arthur has come up to find food. Stealing bananas is the beginning of his trouble.

The formerly defunct...more
Loraine
I have to admit that, after spending the first 5 or so chapters with a permanent crease in my forehead, the book got better. Sure, understanding Cheese Hunts and Cabbageheads went a little too far into "silly" for me, but I'm 32 years old and checked it out from an Elementary School library. I can easily see that my fifth graders would LOVE this book and I'm sure, now that they know it's back on the shelf, they'll be arguing over who's checking it out first.

In short, it's a great book for eleme...more
Nea
**DID NOT FINISH READING THIS**
genre: fantasy

summary: Arthur lives under Ratbridge with his adoptive Grandfather. He comes to the surface with his Grandfather's fly machine and communicator in order to find food. He seeings mysterious men participating in a long outlawed "cheese hunt" and is almost captured by them. When he tries to return home he finds all entrances to the underworld sealed. He and his new friends a strange man, some boxtrolls, and a cabbagehead search for a way back to the und...more
Carissa
an odd little duck. this chapter book is jam-packed with small, black and white illustrations–often more than 2 per page! it takes us to a world where not only does “cheese hunting” exist, it has actually been outlawed! it is a world inhabited not only by talking rats and flying contraptions(not so strange in book-land), but also by “boxtrolls” (curious, tinkering tiny men who wear boxes as their clothing) and “cabbageheads” (curious little folk who love cabbages so much that they tie them onto...more
☺Trish
The Ratbridge Chronicles, Volume 1: Here Be Monsters! is a fantastical story "IN WHICH WE LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT ARTHUR, BOXTROLLS, CABBAGEHEADS, AND STRANGE GOINGS ON IN RATBRIDGE". As it states on the CONTENTS page: "An Adventure Involving Magic, Trolls, And Other Creatures". The pen and ink illustrations by author Alan Snow are awesome, including those in the JOHNSON'S TAXONOMY OF TROLLS AND CREATURES.
Samantha
Saw that this book was being made into a movie and figured I would read it with my kids so we could compare to the movie when it comes out. We Loved it!! Great book to read as a family.
Johnny
Sep 06, 2010 Johnny is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: I think this book is a great book because there are a lot of actions and humors. The story takes place in the city of Rat Ridge lately in the city many underlings have gone missing. When Arthur and Willbury got home from grocery shopping, Fish, Shoe, Tetris, and Egg went missing! Arthur was willing to do anything to get his wings and friends from the Snatcher. Then Arthur sunk in to the Cheese Hall and rescued his Friends. The mission was very successful and the friends were rescued but...more
Kai
This books is freaking incredible not only the illustrations, the story, the characters and the whole plot! It's no wonder why Laika(creators of Coraline and Paranorman movies) would want to adapt this book. Not only that the monsters the author created is genius! Even the whole evil plot of the villain's goal was quite a shock I did not expect

I recommend you all to read this genius book. Now I can't wait to get my hands to read the second book and watch The Boxtrolls film.
Juan Lecler
Uno de los primeros libros que leí. Adoro esta historia
Lori
At 544 pages, Here Be Monsters is the perfect combination of heft and plot for younger chapter-book readers. It kept my attention, yes, but doesn't have the depth of most kids' books this size.

It's cute, well written, appropriately suspenseful and occasionally very, very weird. And it gave me a great chance to talk to my 6-year-old daughter about why she loves it so, chapter by chapter.

Plus, I agreed to read it while she read the first Harry Potter, and she's now in love with the first two. I ha...more
Sherri
What a fun read. Like a lighter Roald Dahl book. Great illustrations on most pages so it didn't feel like a 544 page book at all. The story revolves around Arthur, his grandfather and a man named Willbury and all of the underlings of Ratbridge as they battle against the evil Snatcher. Boxtrolls and cabbageheads, sea cows and trotting badgers along the way make for quite an interesting and imaginative tale. Highly recommend this one - and I hear soon to be a movie entitled, The Boxtrolls. Loved i...more
Yesika Herrera
This book was so slow. I felt like I wasn't goint to be able to finish it and it took me more than a week to read it.
Lisa Wolf
My 10-year-old and I both greatly enjoyed this quirky, funny, smart, and quick-moving adventure story. Filled with odd characters, including boxtrolls, cabbageheads, rat pirates, and a boy with mechanical wings, Here Be Monsters is a big book that never gets dull. Added attraction: Hundreds of detailed black-and-white drawings that are totally absorbing and add greatly to the impact of the story. We both recommend it!

(For my kid's quickie opinion, see the review on my blog.)
Marcus
A visual, imaginative experience filed away as a book for next year for my wee ones. The multitude of illustrations are engaging and have a young simplicity to them while also having complicated detailing. The story moves quickly, introducing bizarre situations and characters in such a straight forward manner and in plain English that the reader gladly accepts this world as a fantastic reality. I look forward to next year when I'll have the chance to finish it!
Rana
this is an odd little book... well, big book. i see the comparison to Roald Dahl, as another reviewer mentioned. however, i'm not a fan of Roald Dahl (except the two books featuring Charlie Bucket), so i can't say that's a compliment. i know i have students who love this book, and since they are the intended audience, i'm glad for that. i also have a few students in mind who have not read this, but really should since it's weird enough to keep their attention.
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