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Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  559 ratings  ·  113 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,587)
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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
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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
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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 (
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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
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Leah
Rating: 4 of 5

Buncha nonsense, really. The stuff of pure fantasy - I loved it! One of those books I wish I could've read for the first time when I was like 11 years old. Aside from the quirky illustrations, I think my fave was the imaginative twists on reality, like "Oil of Brussels" used as a weapon. Because what kid thinks of Brussels sprouts as anything other than parent-sanctioned poison? Be warned: No matter what age, you will giggle A LOT whilst reading Here Be Monsters! (And if you don't,
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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
Stacy Fetters
Arthur was a boy who lived with his crafty grandfather underground. His grandfather was charged with a crime he didn't commit. So, he lives in three caves underground. Everyday Arthur travels above ground to find food. He has wings that can make him fly. One day her gets caught while watching the banned cheese hunt. The cheese hunt has been banned since the cheese crash.

The evil Snacther steal's Arthurs wings. Arthur tries to get back home, but all the holes leading to the under ground have bee
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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.
Lydia
Here Be Monsters! is a fiction book written by author Alan Snow. The main character, Arthur, has been living underground, beneath Ratbridge for his whole entire life, only going above into town to collect food at times. On one of these trips, he gets caught and all the ways home get sealed up. But he befriends Willbury Nibble along with some boxtrolls, cabbageheads, freshwater sea cows, Marjorie the frustrated inventor, and the crew of the Ratbridge Nautical Laundry. Meanwhile, outlaw Snatcher a ...more
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
Kat B
You think you know the Boxtrolls. You think you know how the story goes. You’ve only seen the movie! If you’ve never read the book you don’t know the REAL story!

All the things you think you know have to be thrown out the window when reading this 500+, that’s right I said it, page book. The book that the Boxtroll movie is based off of is 95% different. Yes there are Boxtrolls, and Arthur who lives underground but with his Grandfather, Snatcher and his other identity Madame Froufrou, The Cheese Gu
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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
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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
Milo
"I liked the book, 'Here Be Monsters'. I liked the characters Arthur and Fish. Kids won't be afraid. The monster splatters with cheese. And I like the character Tom. When it splatters with cheese it's gross. And I like the character Marjorie. That's all."

My Mama liked the book because it was long and we spent two weeks reading it together. All too often we go through a book so quickly that we are left searching for a new story. With this story we talked about it at breakfast and dinner. We wond
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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.
Darlene
Imaginative and delightful story

I read this book in print and then later downloaded it from my local library. Once in a few pages, I was reminded of the entire story. It is unforgettable. With intricate illustrations and extra perks for the reader at the end of the book, this story is sure to amaze any young reader and is worthy of bedtime out loud telling. I am sure the parent will be having difficulties not to continue the story apart from the child. I read it straight through and was annoyed
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Deeanna
I wavered between giving this a 4-star rating - it's just a children's book after all - and a 5-star rating. But I finally decided, why SHOULDN'T I give a kids book five stars? I plowed through it and thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing; I found that it was very entertainingly and well-written, and far exceeded whatever my vague expectations were.

To be clear, unlike some of the things I've been reading lately, (looking at you, Walter Moers) this isn't a "kids-book-for-adults". It's just a regula
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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.
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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
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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.
Manuel
I read this book because of the boxtroll movie. For an adult this book is too simplistic and the story-line is not very interesting. I must admit that adults are not really the target audience. My daughter loved this book (she read the french translation) and she is currently reading the second volume (something I will not do).
Karissa
A solid 4.5! I read this in preparation for the new Laika movie coming out in September, "The Boxtrolls". It didn't disappoint! The story is very quirky with quite the motley crew of characters, but they were all so loveable in their own right. A story to be enjoyed for readers of all ages. With about 500 illustrations scattered throughout the 530-page story, the off-beat world and characters were easily conceptualized and understood. Loved it!
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
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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
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Cecilia Rodriguez
I admit to reading the book after seeing the movie first. Most of the story made it to the screen play.
The Victorian style melodrama is blended with steam punk in a very funny satire.
Snow's black and white illustrations help with key points and are the main source of the steam punk vibe.
Linnea
**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
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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.
Katie Casey
Fun Read!

The upcoming movie, "the Boxtrolls," looks so cute that I had to read the book first! It was delightful and fun. Ratbridge is an odd little world with lots of crazy creatures that pull together to fight the real "monsters."
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