Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs by Catchphrase Dan with illustrations by Berg Norcross

Front Cover

When I was approached by Catchphrase Dan and asked if I would like to review Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs, little did I know what I was letting myself in for!  Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs was published on 27th May 2016 and is currently available in ebook from Amazon UKAmazon US and Kobo.

Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs

Cover on Kindle

Maggie stepped forward and rubbed her eyes in disbelief – how was this possible? A giant stone staircase stood in front of her, climbing high up through an ugly hole that had appeared in the ceiling. Maggie strained her eyes and looked for the end of the staircase, but it climbed and climbed into the darkness of the loft.

When Maggie returns home from the market one spectacularly normal day, two things in particular strike her as strange.

  • Firstly, a rather peculiar set of stairs have sprouted from her otherwise stairless bungalow.
  • Secondly, and probably most concerning of all, her husband Nesbitt is nowhere to be found…

Where is Nesbitt? Why have these extraordinary stairs appeared – and more importantly, what lies beyond them? Evil? Good? Monsters? Head lice?!

Join Maggie as she searches low, high and even higher for Nesbitt, in an intriguing debut adventure that will captivate children and adults alike.

My Review of Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs

When 70 year old Maggie goes to the market, she doesn’t expect to return home to find her husband Nesbitt missing, with stairs having mysteriously appeared in their bungalow.

I have one criticism that I’m going to get out of the way first before I tell you my thoughts about Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs and that is that there were a couple of Americanisms of ‘gotten’ and ‘gonna’ that I didn’t like because they didn’t seem to fit the British setting well enough.

Right. That said, I thought Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs was a smashing book. It’s a modern morality fable with all the traditional ingredients needed, including peril, good versus evil and some scary moments. I think children of all ages will love it.

I really appreciated that the star character, Maggie, is a septuagenarian woman so that the stereotypes we might expect are shattered and challenged.  She is feisty and brave and not averse to some violent thoughts on occasion too. But what is lovely is that there is a real bond and love between her and Nesbitt, illustrating to children that it is good to show love for others.

The story is fast paced and exciting with magical and menacing stairs and a raven trapped within a spiral of evil. It is wonderfully concluded too, making for a very satisfying read.

I’m not sure younger children will necessarily get all the jokes and the first person asides from the narrator, but that would not detract from their enjoyment in the read and it makes the story thoroughly engaging for adults too. I laughed aloud at a comment about fancy recipe books, for example. It says something about the mind and humour of the author that the story begins with Chapter X and ends with an Outroduction.

To complement the story by Catchphrase Dan there are wonderful illustrations by Berg Norcross. Whilst they seem initially very simple, they are instilled with a spirit that reminded me of Van Gogh.

Patchwork Fields

Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs is quirky, entertaining and hugely enjoyable. I recommend it without hesitation to children and adults alike.

About The Author


You can find out more about Catchphrase Dan on Facebook and on his website. You can also follow him on Twitter and find him in Ello.

4 thoughts on “Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs by Catchphrase Dan with illustrations by Berg Norcross

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