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The Monster's Ring

(Magic Shop #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,568 ratings  ·  179 reviews
It all starts when Russell Crannaker buys a "monster's ring" from weird old Mr. Elives. Russell is sure the ring is just a silly magic trick -- but he follows the instructions anyway, and slips it on his finger. Then he whispers the magic chant, twists the ring once, and suddenly he's sprouting horns! Hair covers his face and hands. Russell has become...a monster! Russell ...more
Paperback, 105 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1982)
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,568 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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Jack Keely
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
What bullied fifth grade kid wouldn't want a magic ring that could bring out his inner monster? The book was intended as a entertaining light read for kids. It is that, but it has more to offer as well. There is a warmth and an essential goodness about 'The Monster's Ring', and a bit of bite as well. I appreciated that the shy protagonist made an attempt to stand up for himself even before the magic of the ring took hold. Mr. Coville also offered just enough background information on the school ...more
Dan Schwent
Jul 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-stuff
One of my favorite books as a kid. What young boy wouldn't want a ring that turns you into a monster when you twist it?
Oct 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed it and found it a very nice little book for Halloween!
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I decided to revisit this series in audio form since I haven't read them since about second grade or so. It is an interesting story of bullying and learning to stand up for yourself and be heard, with or without magic. The idea of releasing an inner monster to deal with your problems is an enticing one! This is a simple book that moves quickly without much fleshing out of characters, but it's for kids and stays true to its purpose. Sometimes I wondered what kind of school Russell was going to, b ...more
I find it hard to dislike a children fantasy book. However, if you are just like me, give this book a go!
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! I got a lot of laughs out of this story. Children will no doubt love this book and its humor!
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I did not enjoy this as much as Jeremy Hatcher. There were some things I found questionable such as rampaging throughout town with no real consequences. However, it was a fun read and I would recommend it on the library floor to a fantasy lover. I’ll be reading more of this series.
Kathy Davie
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, fantasy
A kid's story about bullies and finding your own ground.

My Take
It's about standing up for yourself against bullies. Whether it's a caring sort of bullying from your parents or the nastier kind from mean kids. But the ring provides opportunities for Russell to learn why Eddie is so mean and gives him the courage to talk to his parents, to make peace with Eddie.

It's also about reading the instructions..!

The Story
Russell Crannaker is a shy boy who is always being bullied by Eddie. And it's his inn
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I remember reading Bruce Coville in elementary school and enjoying him, and the plot of this novel sounded fun and intriguing, so I sought it out and gave it a read. The central hook of the novel is a good one, and there are very brief, entertaining flashes of macabre humor and visual inventiveness, but the characters and story are very paint-by-numbers, and ultimately, nothing very interesting or unexpected happens. However, the ending offers an admirably sensible and slightly dark twist, and t ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Russell Crannaker is sick of being bullied. He purchases a magic ring to transform himself into a monster, but will he be able to live with the side effects?

Dealing with bullies is never easy and Russell’s situation is no different. His inner voice as he deals with his bully, Eddie, resonates as true. The changes he experiences even when not wearing the ring show kids how sometimes just a little courage can make a huge positive difference.

I also highly recommend listening to this book. Bruce Cov
This is a fun little book. I didn't enjoy it as much as Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. Still it was a nice little read for Halloween night. This boy likes monsters and wants to be a monster, something we do not share in common. He finds a ring to help him become that with specific instructions. He doesn't follow them and find out by reading more. There is also a theme about bullying. Russell was bullied. The story doesn't dwell on it and his monster side empowers him.

A decent and fun read.
Sara Allen
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great children's / teen book. I read it so I could discuss it with my home-schoolers. we went through a few in the series. wouldn't mind reading them again, actually.

The story is about a boy who buys a ring which turns him into a monster. He tries to hide his changes, but, inevitably, hes unsuccessful. his adventures are quite nostalgic, and is a great follow-on/lead off to the other books in the series.

Kenneth Shaw
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is about a boy going to a creepy pawn shop and buying a nice ring for the price of five dollars,so he buys it goes home tries it but it,s stuck on his finger and now he,s becoming a monster every hour that pass by now he must witness the mysterious,of the monster ring,he must survive the day of school full of bullies,teachers and how to control the beast within.
Mar 13, 2009 added it
that you don't have to do ravage on a bully
Christopher Montalbano
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a mind twisting thriller that atarts with a boy how gets a magic ring that helps him through some troubles I thinks some of my freinds mite like it but I loved it
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of humorous books
Recommended to Ivonne by: Bill Wolfe
The Monster’s Ring is the novel that kicked off Bruce Coville’s funny and thoughtful Magic Shop Series. Milquetoast fifth-grader Russell Crannaker can’t stand up to anyone: not his suffocating mother, not his long-winded and self-absorbed father, and especially not the tormenting bully, Eddie.

But when Russell stumbles onto a magic shop he’d never seen before, he buys an odd “monster’s ring” from odd Mr. Elives. Russell thinks the ring will be the answer to all of his problems, but only time will
Megan Green
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved Bruce Coville as a kid, especially his Alien Adventures series. I read those books over and over again. And then I came across this one in the audiobook section at our library and checked it out to listen to with my kids because I'd never heard of this one before. It was really good and our entire family enjoyed listening to it. It had a good plot and interesting characters and there were many times that we laughed out loud, which is one thing I love about Coville's books. And it turns o ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Monster’s Ring, my favorite character is Russell because he’s a risk taker and he’s brave. The thing that surprised me the most is when Russell twisted the ring three times, even though on the instructions it said that the most anyone had twisted it was two times. But he still took the risk of not being able to change back. I would not change the ending because I liked that Russell learned that it’s better to forgive people and make friends, like Eddie did with Russell. I did not like that Ru ...more
Barrette Plett
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was okay, and maybe a good read for young kids, but it just seemed kind of predictable and none of the characters were all that endearing. Then I thought, maybe it's just because it's really JUVENILE fiction. But then, I thought -- well, Frog and Toad are super juvenile, but it's still satisfying to read as an adult.
I imagine kids might like this book, but I'd say it's more like Goosebumps rather than great literature.
The first in the Magic Shop Series: Russell keeps getting picked on and he's really tired of being bullied. One day as he is running from his bully he finds a magic shop where he buys a Monster Ring for a dollar. This ring changes Russell into a monster, and just in time for Halloween. Will he be able to change back from his monstrous ways?
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute read that I did with my students. We had read another book in this series, the Skull of Truth, and the students really enjoyed that one. This one I do not feel they enjoyed as much, plus it was a little below their grade level (7th and 8th, this book is about a 5th grader). A nice quick read with a few laughs.
April A.  Taylor
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Monster's Ring was one of my favorite childhood books, and it's still easy to see why. Between the concept of a ring that actually turns the wearer into a monster, the really well-done illustrations and the strong anti-bullying and taking personal responsibility themes, this was still enjoyable to read 30 years later. A must-read for horror loving kids!
Miss Erica

The first in the Magic Shop Series: Russell keeps getting picked on and he's really tired of being bullied. One day as he is running from his bully he finds a magic shop where he buys a Monster Ring for a dollar. This ring changes Russell into a monster, and just in time for Halloween. Will he be able to change back from his monstrous ways?
Raymond L
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a kid I read this for summer reading ,back then I hated reading because it was forced unto me, the saying " you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" comes to mind . As memorie serves I enjoyed this book as much as I could back then and as I remember myself as a child that's .... impressive.
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good read aloud to provoke discussion about peers, bullies, and expressing yourself to parents. Also a great prompt for a conversation about how getting what we wish for may lead to some unexpected complications. Just the right whisper of magic in a story about real feelings and dilemmas.
Sean Harding
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Average fantasy-lite story which forms the first part of a series of self contained stories with the lynch pin being this mysterious shop, which of course can appear and reappear at will and do whatever is required to fin the narrative of the story. OK.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
the illustrations were unforgivably bad, the writing was just okay, and the dialogue seemed dated. that said: the plot was much more nuanced and engaging than i expected, which is why i'm giving this two stars.
B. Zedan
A middle reader and the first of the Magic Shop series, also the one available to me I didn't read when I was the age for it. It's okay and sets up the world well but isn't as solid as those that came after. Big theme is bullying and the monster within.
Victor Manchur
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Good and atmospheric story.
My 7-year old’s rating and review.

“I loved the part when Russell Crannaker wanted to turn back into a human but he stayed a monster!”
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Other books in the series

Magic Shop (5 books)
  • Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Magic Shop, #2)
  • Jennifer Murdley's Toad
  • The Skull of Truth
  • Juliet Dove, Queen of Love