This is the third in Andrew Peterson's award winning fantasy series The Wingfeather Saga. The Monster in the Hollows tells the story of the Wingfeather children hiding from Gnag the Nameless in the Green Hollows, one of the few places in the land of Aerwiar not overrun by the Fangs of Dang.
It's a story about the children attempting to assimilate into a new culture and figure out how to do life (simple things like make friends, go to school, survive bullies, etc.). It's also a story about Kalmar's battle against guilt and shame, and Janner's struggle to protect his little brother. There also is a wonderful side story about Sarah Cobbler and the rebellion at the Fork Factory.
Of the three Wingfeather books, this has the least "laugh out loud" passages (there were many in the first two books). However, what it lacks in laughs, it more than makes up for in suspense. I read the majority of the book in two nights. I'd finish a chapter and not be able to put the book down because I simply had to know what was going to happen next (this rarely happens for me; I almost always choose sleep over resolutions in plot lines). There also were a few tear jerker moments, beautifully written and wonderfully woven into the plot line.
Fairy tales are great because they create for the reader (especially in kids) a moral imagination. You can't learn compassion or sacrifice or courage from definitions. We need to see examples in great stories. The Monster in the Hollows is one of those great stories that helps to form the good, the noble, and the beautiful in our minds and hearts. Peterson may very well be a better novelist than he is a songwriter (and that's saying something). I can't wait to read these books to my daughter.