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The Monster's Ring
By Bruce Coville
Read by the Full Cast Family

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The Monster's Ring

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The Monster's Ring
A Magic Shop Book
By Bruce Coville
Read by Bruce Coville and the Full Cast Family Full Cast Audio, (2002)
An Unabridged Audio Recording on Two Cassettes
ISBN: 1-932076-09-3

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - May 7, 2003

Russell Crannaker has a problem, and its name is Eddie. Eddie is a bully whose primary joy in life seems to be pestering Russell. What is a boy to do? For Russell, the answer is found in a magic ring that facilitates his transformation into a monster - with hilarious results!

Russell is a likable, but somewhat shy boy, who happens to be in the fifth grade with an overprotective mother. It is, or so it appears, pure chance that Russell discovers Mr. Elives' Magic Shop. It is from this shop that Russell purchases the magic ring. When he purchases the ring, Russell is duly cautioned that he should read the directions that come with the ring, before using it. This is a warning that Russell fails to pay due heed to!

The Monster's Ring is the first book in Bruce Coville's beloved Magic Shop series. This audio edition of the book is based upon the revised 20th anniversary editon of The Monster's Ring, and it is performed by a full cast of players. Presented by Full Cast Audio, this audio reading of The Monster's Ring stars the author, Bruce Coville, as the story's narrator, Galen Druke as Russell and Liam Fitzpatrick as Eddie. They are joined in this production by a full cast of spirited actors who ably bring this story to life. This audio recording of The Monster's Ring is enhanced by the inclusion of an afterward by the author that describes how the story came into being. In this afterward, Coville also explains the changes that he made when revising the story and why these changes were made. This information will be of particular interest to fans of the Magic Shop series.

Russell's adventures using the ring are both funny and educational. After listening to this story, I'm sure that you will, forever after, religiously read all directions before using a new product. After all, you wouldn't want to spend the rest of your life as a car chasing monster because you didn't read the directions for your magic ring, would you? By the end of this charming coming-of-age tale, Russell not only comes to terms with his the benefits and costs of owning a magical monster ring, but he also comes to terms with Eddie.

The Monster's Ring is a great story, that the entire family will find enjoyable. There are a few scary moments, but they are 'just' scary enough to thrill and even the youngest listeners shouldn't find them too scary. Most important, The Monster's Ring is a wonderfully funny and entertaining story that is full of amazingly vibrant descriptions, characters, and imagery. Take for instance, Jimmy Rivlen, who, for Halloween, wants to "put mayonnaise in his mouth and pretend he's a pimple - and then pop himself." It is an image that you will find as difficult to put out of your mind, as it will be to stop giggling over. In short, this is a fun book, and it will remind you that there is always a place for magic in your life...

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