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The Monsters of Morley Manor
By Bruce Coville

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The Monsters of Morley Manor

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The Monsters of Morley Manor
By Bruce Coville
Full Cast Audio, (2002)
An Unabridged Audio Recording on Two Cassettes
Read by a full cast, staring Leslie Nobel as Anthony
ISBN: 0-9717540-2-0

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 9, 2002

The Monsters of Morley Manor by Bruce Coville has everything that a great book should have - monsters, werepersons, aliens, ghosts, a giant frog queen, wizards, inter dimensional travel, and lots of giggles, what more could you want? First, before we get too far into this review, let me just explain what a wereperson is. Simply put, a wereperson is a dog that turns into a human during the full moon - sort of a werewolf in reverse. I just thought that I'd mention this because before I listened to this story, I never knew what a wereperson was... By the way, the wereperson in this story is Bob, who is normally a friendly Cocker Spaniel.

This delightful tale centers around Anthony Walker (played by Leslie Noble) and his inquisitive little sister Sarah (Sofia Coon). Their life is strange enough to begin with - but things go from weird to weirder when Anthony buys a box at an garage sale containing five monestrous figurines. He doesn't realize that he actually bought a box of instant monsters until he happens to get one wet - and it comes alive! Little does Anthony realize that by awakening the Monsters, who had been in their shrunken and frozen forms for nearly fifty years, that he, and his sister would be whisked away on a wild journey that will include a trip to the land of the dead accompanied by the ghost of their dead grandfather.

The garage sale, at which Anthony purchased the figurines at, was being held because the owner of Morely Manor, Martin Morley had passed away. His belongings were being sold off in preparation to the manor being torn down. As events will have it, the five monsters that Anthony resurrects include the aforementioned Bob, three of Martin's siblings, and Albert (David Baker) their 'assistant'. The family Morleskievich (a.k.a. the Morely's) consists of Martin (Tim Quartier), Gaspar (Bruce Coville), Ludmilla (Kate Huddleston), and Melisande (Meredith Mancini) had not always been monsters. Rather, they had voluntarily taken on the monestrous personas.

In short order Anthony and the Morleskievich's discern that the Martin that died wasn't the real Martin. Rather the deceased was a clone created by the Philduvians as one step in their nefarious plan to take over the Earth. Once this fact becomes apparent, Anthony and Sarah join forces with the Family Morleskievich to rescue the original Martin, protect the world from the Philduvians, while at the same time ensuring the Earth's dead are allowed to go about their business as usual.

The Monsters of Morley Manor is an energetic and engrossing story, which is greatly enhanced by the full cast reading of the novel in this audio edition. This is a great production of the story. The reading is full of vitality, and it is obvious that the cast had a lot of fun reading this monestrous tale. This a great story for the whole family to listen to, together. While the story is full of monsters and ghosts and other 'creepy' critters, it is really an old-fashioned adventure story - it's just that in this case you have a more colorful bunch of characters than is found in your run-of-the-mill family fiction story. In short, the story is well-written, imaginative, and engaging and I highly recommend The Monsters of Morley Manor for children ages 1-101.

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