The Monsters of Marymount Mansion
by Gregory G. Allen
ASD Publishing

"'Sometimes we find that things aren’t what we expect when we get to them,' Toby said."

The mysterious and imposing Marymount Mansion often has only its owner, Celeste, and her two helpers, Rick and Margaret, as its regular occupants. It serves as a guest house to anyone who wants to stay there, but Celeste’s family often stays away, and visitors are few and far between. What people don’t know is that in the basement of Marymount lives a whole host of monsters, hiding in their home away from a world that will not accept them for who they are. Celeste keeps them company and takes care of them, but for one young monster—Toby—his curiosity is more than he can bear. Given permission to go out on Halloween and see what the world is like for humans, he quickly gets a taste of what he’s been missing and yearns to go topside again and again.

Despite the spooky atmosphere and rather lovable monsters as central characters, this book is ultimately about worrying whether one will fit in when thrust into a new environment, be it a new city, a new school, or anywhere else. The tone is warm, comforting, and friendly, perfect for reassuring any children in need of some confidence. Toby’s curiosity and purity of purpose make him instantly endearing, and young readers will hopefully see his earnestness in their own intentions. The fun illustrations perfectly complement the author’s decidedly non-human yet playful monster descriptions. The pace is brisk enough for a long reading session or can be broken up by parents into distinct episodes without much cause for suspense or unresolved conflict. This story is full of heart and sure to touch anyone who feels like the world sees them a different way than everybody else, helping them find comfort in their own skin and whatever environment they choose.

Return to USR Home