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A surprising book that is also a little scary and more than a little deep, Margarash is about a young boy and a seemingly-nasty monster who realize they need each other.

Mark Riddle is a Youth Services Librarian with a colossal beard. He was born in Australia, has lived in Taiwan and Turkey, and now resides in North Carolina with his wife, Kate; their cat, Warda Runciblespoon; and several fish and chickens. This is his first picture book.

Tim Miller is a creator of picture books. Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), written by Julie Falatko, was his first book as an illustrator. Tim studied at the School of Visual Arts where he earned a BA in Cartooning and an MA in Arts Education. He lives in New York City. This is his debut picture book.

46 pages, Hardcover

Published November 15, 2016

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Mark Riddle

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,050 reviews1,835 followers
February 18, 2017
Collin always made fun on this monster legend.

Until the day when he thrust his hand deep into his parents' couch....

And a scaly hand seized his wrist, pulling him ferociously into the gap.

I didn't really understand this book.

Collin loves coins. He finds them everywhere and he spends hours and hours arranging them by size or shape, country or state, even by smell or taste (which is something you should never do).

He even has a magic coin that turns from silver to gold when he flips it.

His parents warn him not to look for coins in the couch because the monster Margarash lives down there. But Collin ignores them and gets kidnapped by Magarash.

The monster throws Collin into a cage.

Collin was sadder than he had ever been. Alone in the dust, he stared up at the tiny points of light that shone between the cracks in the couches, shining like dirty stars in a dark sky.

Every single day Collin begs the monster to let him go home, but the monster ignores him.

So Collin soon stopped saying anything at all.

Except when Maragarash sat, thoughtful on the ground, arranging his coins. Then Collin would look on in awe as Margarash polished each coin and added it to his collection.

Eventually, whenever Margarash placed a coin where Collin didn't think it should go, he would call out in frustration, unable to stay silent any longer.

When he speaks, Margarash roars loudly and terrifies Collin, who then fearfully cowers in the back of the cage.

But then Margarash will stealthily move the coin to the place Collin suggested.

Now things get weird.

And so Collin began to wait for Margarash and his new coins at the end of each day.

And each night Margarash would roar at Collin, but later would do as he suggested.

Collin couldn't help but give a little smile when this happened - a teeny tiny smile that he kept to himself.

Collin is so miserable - he misses his toys and his family. But one day Margarash sees Collin playing with his magic coin, and he wants it. So he screams at Collin to give it to him.

Collin passes it to him, but Margarash can't make it change from silver to gold. Collin convinces Margarash to try it in the cage for better results. Of course, he locks Margarash in there.

Margarash is furious. But eventually he says to Collin:

"I may be trapped in this cage, but you... you are trapped in MY world with me."

Collin says he'll teach him the magic of the coin if Margarash takes him home.

So Margarash takes him home and Collin teaches him the coin trick.

Collin pulled himself up out of the couch and flew into his parents' arms.

After a big meal and long bath, and feeling like the luckiest boy who had ever lived, Colling went to his warm, comfy, safe bed.

The End? NO.

But that night, Collin lay awake for hours, unable to sleep without Margarash's nighttime visit.
He wondered what Margarash was doing, what coins he had found.

Margarash misses Collin, too, so he writes Collin a note. So Collin now visits Margarash often and they play and sort coins together.


Ummmmmmmmmm. I'm honestly really confused as to why Collin would want to spend any time with Margarash after Margarash kidnapped him, locked him in a cage, and terrified him. What the heck? Is this a book to introduce children to the concept of Stockholm Syndrome? And then, after being treated as nothing but shit by the monster for months in captivity, he MISSES him?!!?!?!? He wants to go VISIT him?!?!!?!?!? I'm sorry, but that is sick. This story is sick.

I don't know what Riddle is going for here. Does he want Margarash to be a sympathetic character? Because there is NOTHING sympathetic about Margarash in the least bit. He's a monster, and I'm not saying that because of what he looks like on the outside!!!!

I'm just completely baffled here. I don't know what Riddle is trying to tell us except a story for a victim falling in love with his abuser. :(

Are there any pros, Carmen?

Yes, Riddle's language and writing is lovely. Extra points for using the word 'surreptitiously' in a kid book.

The illustrations are also charming in a rough way.

Tl;dr - Disturbing.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,088 reviews182 followers
March 7, 2019
Debut author Mark Riddle spins an original fairy-tale in Margarash, the story of a coin-collecting boy who is dragged down into the land beneath the couch-cushions by the eponymous monster Margarash, who is also a numismatist. Thrown into a cage, Collin is at first in despair, but slowly he becomes interested in Margarash's coins. Eventually, using his own special magic coin, he finds a way to free himself and return to the world outside the couch. Once liberated, however, he finds that he misses his interaction with the monster...

I found Riddle's story here quite engaging and well told, and think that young children who enjoy fairy and folktales will enjoy it as well. I got a chuckle out of the author's creative use of the classic "things get lost in the sofa/couch" idea, and found the artwork by Tim Miller, illustrator of such books as Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), quite expressive and entertaining. Recommended to picture-book readers and listeners who enjoy adventure stories and tales of monsters, as well as to Tim Miller fans.
Profile Image for Yalonda.
77 reviews19 followers
January 5, 2017
Is this a children's book about Stockholm Syndrome? Because that's what it feels like...
Profile Image for Liam.
3 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2018
Storytelling at its best. 'Margarash' tells a devilishly funny tale about the monster that's lurking in the deep, dark place under your couch cushions.
Collin is a boy obsessed with coins. Collecting them, stacking them, hoarding them. Then one day, he foolishly lunges his hand into the depths of a couch, hungry for lost coins. But something hungrier was waiting for him...
I'm not sure if I have enjoyed a picture book more than 'Margarash' - I laughed. A lot. Yes, it is scary for children, but in a thrilling way that is still fun. My son is usually quite averse to anything with a waft of spookiness, but the story is so captivating he HAD to find out how it ends.
Mark Riddle's wonderfully offbeat story was matched perfectly with illustrations by Tim Millar. His art takes a gloomy palette and adds a whimsical, comical touch.
Profile Image for Jo.
10 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2016
Margarash follows the story of a little boy who loves collecting coins. One day, Collin decides to try looking for coins inside the cushions of his couch, and gets pulled down into the world inside the couch where the monster Margarash lives. The middle of the book is a little spooky, but the story on a whole is delightful and has a wonderful ending. I highly recommend this book, especially for kids who love monsters!
Profile Image for Garrett.
583 reviews6 followers
December 15, 2018
Collin's parents literally watch him get taken by Margarash into the couch and didn't once try to rescue him all the time he was down there.
Profile Image for Jana.
2,588 reviews36 followers
January 5, 2017
This is a fun picture book that gives readers something to think about, especially if they're sitting on a couch while enjoying this story. Collin is a little boy who loves finding coins. His favorite place to look was under the couch cushions. Margarash is a monster who lives in a world deep below the cushions and springs of your couch. One day, Collin sticks his arm between the couch cushions to look for coins and he's snatched into the dark world by Margarash. Young readers definitely will want to find out what happens. This book might be kind of scary for very young or sensitive children.
Profile Image for Amanda Blau.
241 reviews2 followers
February 20, 2017
Modern fairytale about the monster who lives in the couch waiting for coins to fall.
Profile Image for Shilpa.
341 reviews16 followers
December 4, 2016
The illustrations and colours used in the book are interesting and unusual, but add an engaging story element to the book. Illustrator, Tim Miller has done a spot on job highlighting the darkness in the dark corners of the couch.

This is a bit of a scary story, and would caution parents of children who are overly sensitive. But told in a voice that's reassuring and the friendly message tone of the book in the end, makes it an emotional read that will have kids talking about for quite a few story time sessions.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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