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Moongobble and Me is a fantasy series by Bruce Coville, in which a young boy named Edward finds himself having adventures with the magician Moongobble after the latter moves to his town. Books 1-3 revolve around Moongobble seeking to become a member of the Society of Magicians, which involves performing three Mighty Tasks, while books 4-5 involve a set of quests with the ultimate goal of freeing the members of House Nork from their hereditary curse.

The series consists of:

  • #1: The Dragon of Doom (2003)
  • #2: The Weeping Werewolf (2004)
  • #3: The Evil Elves (2004)
  • #4: The Mischief Monster (2007)
  • #5: The Naughty Nork (2009)


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This series contains examples of:

  • The Adjectival Superhero: Less a hero, but the titular character of book 2 is "The Weeping Werewolf"... so named because he cries a lot. It turns out he cries a lot because he's been separated from his family and misses them terribly.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Felicity the Finder, a witch introduced in book 2, has a black cat named Midnight who serves as her Familiar.
  • Amphibian at Large: Book 5 has Moongobble and co. visit the Temple of Toadliness, which is home to an enormous stone toad. When they make the mistake of angering the oldest toad present though, he makes it come to life and chase them away.
  • And Call Him "George": Early in book 4, after Urk gets turned into a miniature cat, Snelly the Mischief Monster promptly tries to run up and hug him, exclaiming "But I wanna hug you and kiss you and wrap you in a blanket!" Fortunately, Edward is able to catch her and keep this from happening. Unfortunately for Urk, she keeps trying to grab and hug him. (And she still thinks he's cute after he turns back into a toad.)
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  • Androcles' Lion: In book 3, after being shrunk, Edward encounters a squirrel that was tied up by the titular Evil Elves. He frees her; later, when he's being chased by said elves, she comes back and gives him a ride out of the elf village in thanks for saving her.
  • Bamboo Technology: Book 3 introduces Arfur, an elf who's developed a flying machine (essentially a tadpole tricycle with a pole mounted overhead and a set of flapping dragonfly-like wings controlled by the pedals) that he calls a Winged Wonder.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: When Edward's mother first meets the toad Urk in book 1 and hears him talking, she asks him if he's one of these. He's not, and seems rather offended by the notion.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: In book 2, about the time Edward, Moongobble, Urk and the Rusty Knight are reaching the Forest of Night so they can go in, they meet a man with a single thick eyebrow that runs over both eyes. He turns out to be the titular Weeping Werewolf they're looking for.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: The titular "Dragon of Doom" from book 1 turns out to be a very small creature, who uses trickery to make himself appear big and scary so as to scare away intruders to the cave he's guarding.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • The Dragon of Doom breathes fire, as normal for a dragon.
    • In book 5, the Dangly-Boo vomits magic blasts after eating too much magic, which are strong enough to punch a hole in a stone wall.
  • Caught in a Snare: In book 2, Moongobble and his companions set up a snare trap to catch the Weeping Werewolf. It actually works, to Edward's surprise.
  • Clutching Hand Trap: Variant in book 2 — when Edward, Moongobble and Urk go to see the Rusty Knight, he has his hand stuck in a vase... not because he was trying to get something out, but because he was cleaning it. Fortunately, Edward's able to get it off him with the help of a stick of butter.
  • Curse Escape Clause:
    • Book 2 features the Weeping Werewolf, who's cursed to transform every night "Until the day the sun shines / In the Forest of Night". It turns out he misheard it — the line is actually "Until the day the son shines". When Edward — the werewolf's son — stands up to the Old Woman of the Forest of Night over her nastiness, it's a shining deed (literally, as he starts glowing as a result of his actions), which breaks the spell.
    • Book 5 has the Old Woman send Moongobble and co. on a quest to find a cure for her curse, which makes her a were-toad. It involves finding the oldest toad in Bogfester Swamp and getting him to spit in a bottle, which is the last ingredient she needs for the cure. In reality, she never expects them to get it — she just sent them on a quest she thought would get them killed.
  • Cursed Item: Book 3 involves Moongobble being assigned to retrieve one of these from a band of elves — a jewel called "the Queen's Belly Button", which inverts their morality and makes them nasty — after they took it from a statue in a temple.
  • Deflector Shields: In book 5, Moongobble creates a "barrier of silence" that functions as one of these, except its purpose is to keep sound in (specifically, so they won't hear the Oggledy Nork's snoring). It keeps growing the more noise he makes though, and isn't permanent — Snelly, when she shows up, promptly pops it and lets loose all the trapped noise, which sounds like "fourteen bears having a fight during a thunderstorm".
  • Disappeared Dad: In book 1, it's noted that Edward's never known his father. Book 2 reveals why, and sees them happily reunited when Edward unwittingly breaks the curse his father was under.
  • Disguised in Drag: In book 5, Moongobble (with help from Edward's mother) puts the Oggledy Nork in a dress to disguise him as an old woman. Astoundingly, it works, as the city guards of Flitwick City buy it when Moongobble claims the Oggledy Nork is his mother.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Book 2 has the Weeping Werewolf explain that he met the Old Woman of the Forest of Night, who asked him for bread; when he didn't give her any (because he didn't have any with him), she cursed him to become a werewolf until certain conditions were met.
    • In the same book, she curses a girl, turning her to stone and forcing Moongobble to give up his bottle of Weeping Werewolf tears to cure her in retaliation for Edward's having cured the Werewolf of his curse.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: As demonstrated in book 5, the Oggledy Nork seems to have this problem, which causes him to accidentally break things.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Book 1 features the "Dragon of Doom", which is said to be very dangerous. It turns out to be faking for intimidation purposes.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": A supporting character throughout the series is the Rusty Knight. His real name is never given, but book 4 indicates that his last name is "Nork". Likewise, his brother is only known as the Oggledy Nork, with his real name never given even after his curse is half-broken.
  • Eye of Newt: In book 3, Moongobble creates a Magic Potion made up of some strange ingredients, designed to make Edward shrink. Said ingredients include "tiny mushrooms, an earthworm's eyebrow, several ant toes, and some fuzz from a baby bird". Plus some stuff Moongobble brought from home.
  • Familiar: Urk the toad for Moongobble, who serves as his talking animal companion and advisor, which is good... because Moongobble needs all the help he can get.
  • Flashy Teleportation: Fazwad the Mighty tends to teleport in or out with a puff of blue smoke. He can also teleport objects in the same way (demonstrated when he teleports a copy of the Society of Magicians Rulebook to his hand in book 2).
  • Forced Transformation:
    • Moongobble's spells have a tendency to go wrong and forcibly, albeit accidentally on his part, turn people and things into cheese (including himself). Book 4 also sees him accidentally turn his toad companion Urk into a miniature cat, to Urk's great distress (fortunately, he gets better by the end of the book).
    • In book 5, Snelly the Mischief Monster opens a box that turns her into a beautiful woman... much to her horror, since her species likes being ugly. She's restored to normal when the Dangly-Boo eats the curse magic.
  • Friendly War: Discussed in book 4, where Fazwad the Mighty explains that if the Queen of the Mischief Monsters (a race of notorious pranksters) thinks her daughter's being held hostage, she'll start a "Mischief War", and "You don't know the meaning of 'annoying' until you've been caught in a Mischief War." It can be inferred from his remarks that said war is more irritating than harmful.
  • Gang of Bullies: Book 1 mentions that there are two older boys in Pigbone who are "kind of mean". Book 2 properly introduces them as a pair of bullies who keep harassing and making fun of Edward, his mother and Moongobble, trying to make Edward cry. He does his best to ignore them and not react.
  • Gasshole: In book 5, Moongobble accidentally causes a giant stone toad to turn into one of these temporarily... and its burps smell really foul.
  • Gate Guardian: Book 5 features two in Flitwick City — first a couple of normal guards outside the door to the city, and then the door itself for the Hall of Magic, which is apparently alive and takes offense if someone knocks on it.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Moongobble is prone to using unusual swears, such as "Monkey fat!". In book 2, he expands on it to "Dad rat monkey fat!".
  • Great Big Library of Everything: Book 5 has Moongobble and co. visit the Society of Magicians' headquarters, and their archives, which has a record of every curse ever cast, among other things. The group goes there to find, successfully, information on the Oggledy Nork's curse.
  • Hereditary Curse: Book 5 explains that four hundred years ago, a member of the Nork family had been cursed so that he and each of his descendants would be turned into an Oggledy (something like an ogre, but nicer). The curse also causes each generation to produce at least two sons, one of whom must stay at Fortress Nork, while the other becomes an Oggledy in turn. Eventually, it's explained that the first Nork had been a were-toad who fell in love with another were-toad, but when she broke his curse, he abandoned her for the woman he was already betrothed to, leading her to place the Oggledy curse on he and his family. Generations later, when Edward unwittingly breaks Susan's were-toad curse, it also breaks half the curse on the current Oggledy Nork, turning him into a Half-Oggledy, who presents the Old Woman with a letter from his ancestor explaining that the whole thing was a misunderstanding: his ancestor had actually left her in order to visit his betrothed and end their engagement, thus allowing him to marry Susan. Unfortunately, Susan cursed him before she could receive the letter explaining this.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Fazward's generally portrayed as a jerk to Moongobble. It's not until the end of book 3 that it's revealed he's actually been acting this way as part of a Secret Test of Character for Moongobble; after Moongobble passes, Fazwad is much nicer.
  • House Fey: Moongobble's origin story features them; akin to the story The Elves and the Cobbler, Moongobble used to be a shoemaker who got assistance from elves. Unlike the original, they told him stories about how they used magic to help people, inspiring him to become a magician and do the same.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: In book 3, Edward gets shrunk to blend in with the titular "evil elves" so he can swipe a dangerous magical item from them. He grows back to normal while he's asleep later.
  • Inept Mage:
    • Moongobble, full stop. Most of his spells end up turning things into cheese, causing explosions or otherwise going wrong, to the point where it's more surprising when he doesn't mess one up. Part of it is apparently in how he pronounces his "A"s.
    • Felicity the Finder, featured in book 2, tends to become inept when she gets upset.
  • Insistent Terminology: Fireball the dragon is Edward's friend, not his pet, as he notes repeatedly in books 2-5.
  • Intellectual Animal: More than a few, starting in book 1 with Moongobble's partner Urk the toad, who's fully capable of speaking like a human. It's implied that his magical nature is the cause, since Edward notes that most animals he's met don't speak unless they're magic in some way, and in book 2, he's surprised to meet some animals who can speak but don't have obvious magic.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: In book 5, when Moongobble and co. return to the Forest of Night, the animals once again try to warn them away. The last of these, a squirrel, cracks up at his own joke after saying "You guys are such nuts, I should save you for the winter!"
  • Loud Sleeper Gag: In Book 5, the titular "Naughty Nork" snores quite loudly. Moongobble creates a soundproof magical barrier around his head to allow the rest of their group to get some sleep, but the Oggledy Nork's snoring is so loud and powerful that the barrier is found to have inflated the next morning. When said barrier is subsequently popped, the sound of all that released snoring is compared to the noise produced by fourteen bears fighting in a thunderstorm.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Late in book 2, the Weeping Werewolf hears Edward's name for the first time... and putting it together with what he's already been told (that Edward's from the same town as he was), he realizes the truth and explains:
    "Edward from Pigbone," he cried. "I am your father!"
  • Magic Eater: Book 5 features the Dangly-Boo, which eats magic. Fortunately for Snelly the Mischief Monster, it also eats half the magic that cursed her to look like a beautiful woman, causing her to turn mostly back to normal. Later, after he's feeling better, he eats the rest of the curse, restoring her to normal. Later, he eats the were-toad curse off the Old Woman of the Forest of Night, achieving what she wanted all along (though not in the way she intended). After the book's quest is dealt with, it comes back home with Moongobble to help him with his spells — he'll cast one, it'll eat the spell, and then suggest ways to improve it.
  • Magic Potion: Book 3 sees Moongobble creating one that will shrink Edward and help him blend in with the titular Evil Elves.
  • Magic Wand: Moongobble owns one, and uses it for most of his spells.
  • The Magnificent: Many witches and wizards have professional names, such as Fazwad the Mighty or Felicity the Finder.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • One of the residents of Pigbone is called the Rusty Knight, so known because he usually wears a set of rusted armor.
    • The Dragon of Doom, who breathes balls of fire, is named Fireball.
  • Mirror Morality Machine: Book 3 features a jewel called "the Queen's Belly Button", which makes good people turn nasty (and is what made the titular "Evil Elves" be evil). It's possible, though difficult, to fight off the effects with a lot of concentration and focusing on the things that are good in your life. Edward is able to beat it by remembering how he rescued his father, which his bad side isn't able to counter.
  • Mondegreen Gag: The Rusty Knight is hard of hearing, and is rather prone to these. In book 1 alone, as a few examples, he mishears "doom" as "gloom", and "cheese" as "fleas".
  • Multi-Part Episode: Books 1-3 are all one story arc, involving Moongobble's quest to perform three Mighty Tasks and earn membership in the Society of Magicians. Books 4-5 are a second story arc, introducing the Oggledy Nork and then the quest to cure his curse.
  • Neat Freak:
    • Fazwad the Mighty has a reputation for being "very fussy", as Urk comments in book 1, and tells Edward they need to have the cottage clean before he gets there.
    • In book 5, the Oggledy Nork sees the Rusty Knight's house, which is rather filthy, and promptly starts cleaning it... and apparently enjoys doing so, to Edward's surprise.
  • Nighttime Transformation: Book 2 features the Weeping Werewolf, who transforms every night when the sun goes down, rather than just during the full moon.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: In-Universe example in book 3 — when Edward learns "some fuzz from a baby bird" was a required ingredient in a potion, he initially gets upset, but Urk assures him that the bird's mother gave it to them and that "the little tweeter is fine."
  • No-Sell: Book 5 has Oggledy Nork be completely immune to spells that would alter people's perception of him.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: This is Edward's opinion of Pigbone, and he longs for excitement. His mother doesn't though, to the point where when someone new moves to town in book 1, she tells Edward to just ignore it.
  • The Oath-Breaker: As revealed in book 5, the toads of the Temple of Toadliness consider the Old Woman of the Forest of Night to be one of these because she was sworn to marry their prince, but lost her temper and cursed him with the Oggledy curse before he could explain himself (he'd previously been engaged to someone else, and went to break that engagement, but she just saw him leaving her to visit another woman and didn't realize why).
  • Old Soldier: The Rusty Knight, who is mostly retired due to age wearing on him (he claims to have had one joust too many, and now his ears are always ringing). This doesn't stop him from coming to help Moongobble on his quest in book 1 when they convince him they really need his help.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Book 5 reveals that Susan — the Old Woman of the Forest of Night — was turned into a were-toad a long time ago, as was a member of the Nork family, cursing them both to transform one night a month until the curse was broken.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The titular "Weeping Werewolf" of book 2, who was cursed by the Old Woman of the Forest of Night — simply because he didn't give her any bread when she asked (because he didn't have any) — to transform into an anthropomorphic wolf-man every night as opposed to just on the night of the full moon until a certain condition is met.
  • Power Incontinence: Felicity the Finder, a witch in book 2, is painfully shy and tends to lose control of her powers when she gets upset.
  • Power Nullifier: In book 3, Moongobble receives an enchanted bag with this ability, intended to let him carry the Queen's Belly Button gem without it negatively affecting him.
  • The Prankster: Book 4 introduces the Mischief Monsters, who love pulling pranks on everyone. Snelly, in particular, loves causing trouble for people.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: In book 5, after realizing the Old Woman of the Forest has done multiple nasty things, including turning his father into the Weeping Werewolf for no good reason and then setting them up to be killed, Edward finally loses his temper at her and snaps, yelling about all the horrible things she's done... and then throws the Dangly-Boo at her.
  • Read the Map Upside Down: In book 1, Moongobble accidentally holds the map upside down while they're on their quest to find the Dragon of Doom, resulting in a few wrong turns... until the Rusty Knight asks to see it, since he's quite good with maps, and promptly points out the mistake, causing Moongobble to turn red with embarrassment.
  • Rules Lawyer: Urk is the helpful variety.
    • In book 1, after Moongobble tries to demonstrate three spells for Fazwad the Mighty and messes up the last one, Fazwad tries to forbid him from practicing magic... only for Urk to point out (complete with page number from the Society of Magicians Rulebook) that if Moongobble completes three Mighty Tasks, he can still join the Society.
    • In book 2, Urk points out to Fazwad that Moongobble can't complete his second Task because there is no Weeping Werewolf (anymore), but also informs Fazwad of a page in the Rulebook, pointing out that "if the Mighty Task turns out to be invalid, then the candidate shall receive credit for it as if he had passed it."
  • The Runaway: Book 4's plot kicks off when Snelly, Princess of the Mischief Monsters, runs away and turns up in Pigbone to see Moongobble.
  • Schmuck Bait: In book 5, Snelly the Mischief Monster sees a box that says "Open me for a beautiful experience". Ignoring everyone's warnings against opening it, she opens it... and regrets it, as it turns her into a beautiful human woman.
  • Secret Test of Character: Fazwad the Mighty, who's been pretty nasty to Moongobble because of his ineptness and has been purposely being hard on him since the series' start, is revealed in the climax of book 3 to have been faking it the entire time as a test of Moongobble's heart, to see how he would react to someone being mean to him. As Moongobble has never once been mean or nasty back, he's passed, which leads to him being accepted into the Society of Magicians.
  • Shoot the Messenger: In book 1, Moongobble gets some bad news from Flitbert the bat, who promptly squeaks at him not to blame him (with the implication that he fears Moongobble would do this) — he just brings the news, he doesn't make it. Fortunately, Moongobble isn't the sort to do that kind of thing.
  • Shrinking Violet: Felicity the Finder, a witch in book 2, is so painfully shy that she hides from anyone who tries to visit her. The only way to get answers from her is to be polite, and not to disturb her for long enough, or otherwise she'll lose control of her magic.
  • Siblings Wanted: Inverted in book 4 — Snelly, Princess of the Mischief Monsters, doesn't want a little brother, and gave his egg away to the Oggledy Nork so she'd stay an only child. Her mother, naturally, disagrees and has Moongobble and co. set out to rescue him. In the end, after realizing how cute her newly-hatched brother is, Snelly changes her mind about him.
  • Snipe Hunt:
    • In book 1, Fazwad the Mighty assigns Moongobble the first of three Mighty Tasks, to retrieve the Golden Acorns of Alcoona... which Fazward had personally retrieved from the Dragon of Doom seven years before. Since Moongobble befriended the dragon and learned where the Acorns were though, it counts as successfully completing the Task.
    • In book 5, the Old Woman of the Forest of Night sends the group to retrieve some toad spit from the Temple of Toadliness. It's really just an effort to get them all killed, because she knows the toads there are angry at her and will kill anyone she sends to them; fortunately for Moongobble and his friends, they escape and, in the end, help break her curse anyway.
  • So Much for Stealth: In book 1, Moongobble attempts to sneak up to the Dragon of Doom's cave... and promptly wakes it up via stepping on and breaking a twig.
  • Taken for Granite: In book 2, on their way out of the Forest of Night, Edward, Moongobble and their friends meet a man whose daughter has been turned to stone. They wind up giving him their bottle of Weeping Werewolf tears to cure her.
  • Tentacle Rope: In book 3, while passing through Bogfester Swamp, Moongobble and co. encounter an old woman fending off a beast, unseen except for its tentacles, that keeps trying to grab at her (and then at the group's wagon after she's pulled to safety).
  • Thin-Skinned Bully: Peter and Thomas, the two local bullies in Pigbone, like taunting and harassing Edward. When he's traveling through town with Moongobble though, they prove too afraid to come near the old man.
  • Unicorn: A traditional one makes a brief appearance in book 3. Edward thinks it's "the most beautiful thing I had ever seen".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In book 5, Moongobble tries to use a "spell of seeming" to make one thing seem like another, for the purpose of invoking this trope on the Oggledy Nork, so nobody will notice his unusual looks. It also works on perfectly mundane objects, making a kitchen chair "seem" like a bathtub, for instance. Unfortunately, the Oggledy Nork proves immune to the spell.
  • Vine Tentacles: When Edward first meets Moongobble in book 1, Moongobble triggers a guard spell that causes the vines near his cottage to act like tentacles and grab Edward, holding him long enough for Moongobble to confirm he's friendly. Unfortunately, it doesn't work at night, which Urk complains about.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Literally in book 2, in which Urk the toad reveals he's afraid of snakes (because snakes eat toads) and is nervous about going near a cave where several are hanging down over the entrance.
  • You Fool!: In book 2, the sign warning people that they're entering the Forest of Night explicitly calls them fools for doing so.
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