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Literature / Nelly the Monster Sitter

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Nelly the Monster Sitter is a children's pentalogy by British author Kes Gray. It follows a girl called Petronella Morton, who places an advertisement in the local newspaper offering monster families a chance to have her babysit their children for the evening. Hilarity Ensues as she learns to understand different monster cultures and the best ways to look after their kids.

Each book features three stories following Nelly's babysitting experiences, as well as her family life. She lives with her snobbish twin sister Astibil, and her supportive parents. Nelly often bickers with Asti, particularly over Asti's prejudices towards Nelly's clients. It often makes their parents' lives harder.

The Books

  1. Grerks, Squuirms & Water Greeps
  2. Cowcumbers, Pippewaks & Altigators
  3. Huffaluks, Muggots & Thermitts
  4. Polarbores, Digdiggs & Dendrilegs
  5. Ultravores, Rimes & Wattwatts


  • Aerith and Bob:
    • The Water Greeps family have Drip (father), Drop (mother), and the children Plip, Plop ... and Seaview?
    • Petronella is a real but unusual name. Astibil was probably invented by the author.
  • All There in the Manual: The first few pages of each book have a map of the estate that Nelly's family lives in. For each book, additional writing (presumably from Nelly) marks out the places that the monsters live.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Asti.
  • Cool Big Sis: Nelly often becomes this to the monster children she meets.
  • Daddy's Girl: Nelly, however, Asti isn't the same with their mother.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Asti's friend that comes to Asti and Nelly's birthday. She joined in on Asti's prejudice remarks towards Freeb the Huffaluk, but even she agreed that Asti deserved being thrown on the roof.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": Nelly's father is referred to throughout the series as "Nelly's dad", but only Nelly's mother calls him by his real name: Clifford.
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  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Asti's foolish to Nelly's responsible. Nelly willingly becomes a babysitter to monsters because she wants to help out the minorities; Asti is less of a foolish sibling and more of a lazy one, who cares more about keeping up appearances instead of important things like schoolwork.
  • Gentle Giant: Teet and Bello. Their daughter Petal is as tall as Nelly.
  • Happily Married: Many of the monster parents that Nelly meets, as well as hers.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Justified. The monsters that Nelly meets live in ordinary homes in ordinary suburbia, but they don't have babysitters which is why no one knows that they exist; they're too busy looking after their children.
  • Multiple Head Case: The Rime species each have two heads.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: The Morton twins.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Asti, towards monsters.
  • Theme Naming: Many of the monsters have a running theme with their family names. The Water Greeps have names based on water/rainfall.
  • Three Shorts: Each book has three stories in them.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Nelly's tomboy to Asti's girly girl.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Asti, not physically but with words. She doesn't hold back on insulting Freeb and claiming she has fleas whenever she was in earshot.