The Monster Maintenance Manual, written by Peter Macinnis, illustrated by Adele K. Thomas

Contact details for the creators appear at the end of this page. Click this link if scrolling is too hard.

front and back covers This book was named by the Children's Book Council of Australia as one of the Notable Books of 2010 for Young Readers. That means it made the long list, but not the short list. The writer is happy it go that far.

The writer is delighted to add that the illustrator, Adele K. Thomas, has been short-listed for the CBCA's Crichton Award for New Illustrators for her work on this book.

Warning: Peter Macinnis may have won the CBCA's 2010 Eve Pownall Book of the Year for Information Books for his Australian Backyard Explorer, but while this new book is crammed with information, there is precious little in the way of reliable information, according to unusually unreliable sources. In fact, several critics have been heard suggesting that he is not to be trusted. He says that he can be trusted, and that he will get his friends the caravaggistas to chase the critics with socks full of sea urchins if they don't leave off. For some reason, the critics have fallen silent, but the caravaggistas are all grinning. This is not a good sign, at least, not for the critics.

ISBN 9781741968088 or 978-1741968088 or 978-1-74-196808-8 , published November 1, 2010 by Murdoch Books in Australia

Written by Peter Macinnis, exquisitely illustrated by Adele K. Thomas and patiently edited by Shelley Kenigsberg.

For information from the publisher, go to this link and follow your nose.

This book is written for young readers with a sense of humour and also for those with a potential to develop one, but it is not recommended for critics with sea-urchin-phobia. The message is that we can take charge of the monster problem in our house, because all monsters have flaws and weaknesses.

This is a consistent ecology of monsters, so after you have read it, you will know which monsters eat others, the diet of moat monsters, the habits of long-legged underbed pigs, dangerous goldfish, thin blue lions and more. It also tabulates or pots the histories of Mistislav Draghoul, Count Henry Blenkinsop and Cecil B. de Mole, maker of boring movies about tunnels (scripts by Edgar Rice Burrows, director Charles Shovel).

And now for something irrelevant: a look at some Australian monsters, as reported in old newspapers.

There are now 64 monsters covered, including the following:

Not to mention roll models, bucket bogles, piano tunas, truthteller spiders, mud alligators, Schrödinger's Cheshire cats, molar moles, hairyoddities and drop nutters.

 

The Easter eggs
Yes, there is a level of word play going on here. In fact, there are actually quite a few levels of word play, to satisfy readers at different levels and to cover days when I choose to walk lopsided. My hope is that younger readers will experience occasional snorts of recognition as they get older. The plays relate mainly to language, art, music and mathematics, but I just set out to have some fun and it got away from me and ran off down several different alleys at once. Most of the references can be "got" by clever web searches, but don't tell yourself that. SHHHH!

My plan is to follow this up with a series of short stories about some of the monsters and their perilous journeys in search of the Holy Grail, the Promised Land, a sure method to trisect the angle or square the circle, Perpetual Motion and a Free Lunch (batteries not included). (SHHHH! 15 of the short stories were complete in mid-April, 2011.)

 

We found the illustrator, Adele K. Thomas, from a competition. You can see her work in the art on this page (or see the contact details below). To see what she had to beat, use this Google search. The standard was absolutely amazing, and I have a Very Good Feeling about this book. I might add that a number of other illustrators had their names noted down by the design people at Murdoch Books as potential illustrators for other books at other times. Why wouldn't you, when there's so much talent out there?

This page is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/writing/monsters.htm and it was probably written by Count Henry Blenkinsop Junior, who may not have perished at the Reichenbach Falls. It was first created on March 4, 2009 and last revised on April 16, 2011. You can see the Count (or maybe the author, since they resemble each other) on the left.


Contacting the creators

If you email Peter at macinnis at ozemail.com.au, you will reach a spam trap, but be read, eventually. If you put his first name in front of that address (all lower case), you will reach him direct. This low-tech solution is to make email harvesting difficult for spammers' robots. Think about it!

The home page of Peter's writing site is here. His travel blog, containing tales of his acts of peripatetism is somewhat occasional, because he is generally busy. His writing blog (rather more frequent) is Old Writer on the Block.

Adele K. Thomas has a blog here. She also has a web site here, and a professional loop portfolio here.

Shelley Kenigsberg, our marvellous editor, has a blog at http://shelleykenigsberg.wordpress.com and she also runs an editing retreat at Pemuteran in north-west Bali called Editing in Paradise. The course offers a 6-day master class for writers to learn self-editing and have one-on-one consultations with two professional editors.


The small print:

Obligatory declarations on matters of ethical concern


Correct use of the book

All warranties are void if pages in the book are adjusted with tools other than those approved by the publisher. The book may be fed on strawberries and cream, milked for jokes or shown the light, the door or the error of its wheys, set to music other than that of Karl-Heinz Stock-Aitken-Wassermann, Alkan or Andrew Lloyd-Webber, taken to the opera, sporting games or arenas where surgical procedures are performed for entertainment. In the hands of non-professionals, it may be rolled down small hills on fine days in suitable carts, or up medium-sized mountains irrespective of weather conditions, whirled, swirled, pointed at, or read to pets. It may also be taken for a walk, granted, or Marlene Dietrich in a bad light without fear of reprisal (although the writer is not authorised to offer any assurance which may be deemed to emanate from Miss Dietrich). It may be sent to Coventry, to the salt mines, to sea or to know for whom the bell tolls.

The book should never be used as body armour, nor should it be placed in any device designed to dry clothes or wash dogs unless the lint collector has first been cleaned with liquid oxygen. At all times avoid wearing, displaying, or even thinking of the colour puce while using the book unless your fire insurance is fully paid. The work may be fitted with bespoke boots at the owner's risk, because it will probably run away, at least to the limit imposed on it by the nearest dog-proof fence. It should be calibrated by the appropriate authority before being used as a measurement device.

The work herein described by the party of the first part may be run over on level surfaces by non-articulated vehicles of less than 8.352 tonnes, but only during daylight hours (and preferably after being separated from the reader), heated gently by gas, cooled by appropriately qualified punkah wallahs, treated with mild levels of ionising radiation, dilute acid, or complete indifference. It may be used to swat flies, encourage horses, shade gondoliers in tropical climates, or line boxes of emergency rations for lost mountaineers. It should, however, be kept away from cattle, itinerant wombats and funicular railways, especially just after a heavy meal. Under no circumstances should it be used as reinforcing in any situation where ferro-cement or musique concrète may be encountered.

Note: no batteries are included, and any physical harm you or your tractor may incur by the perusal of the text or pictures either in accordance with these instructions or otherwise shall be solely your fault. In particular, if you are struck by lightning while looking at the text, you should get out of the rain. All disputes will be dealt with by the caravaggistas, and the judge's decisions shall be ludicrous, multiple, conflicting and binding. If you do not like these conditions, why are you reading them?


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