Monster Nanny

Tuutikki Tolonen

Original title: Mörkövahti

Author: Tuutikki Tolonen

Illustrator: Pasi Pitkänen

Published: 2015

Publisher: Tammi

Genre: Middle Grade (8-12 Years)

Pages: 303

Part of a series: Monster Nanny trilogy

Reading material:

English edition

Mary Poppins meets Where the Wild Things Are in this prize-winning series.

- A feature film in development, co-produced by Ridley Scott!

- Monster Nanny is the winner of Arvid Lydecken Award 2016 and the Monster Nanny series was a Anni Polva Award nominee (2017)

- Tuutikki Tolonen is also the winner of the LukuVarkaus Award 2021 and has been nominated for the Arvid Lydecken Award 2021, the Anni Polva Award 2021, and has received an honorable Mention at the Runeberg Junior Award 2021

The Hellman children must make do with a nanny while their mother is away at a spa. The only problem? Their nanny is a monster.

Grah is hairy, dusty, and doesn’t talk. When the siblings discover that other neighborhood kids have been left with similar creatures, they start to wonder where the monsters came from. With the parents away, the kids work together (between bickering) to figure out the mystery of the monsters.

Tolonen seamlessly intertwines contemporary life with a world full of strange creatures. Monster Nanny is at once a refreshing change of pace and a return to timeless adventure.


Arvid Lydecken Prize Winner 2016!


In the media:

”The upbeat tone, oddball details, and Pitkänen’s humorous b&w cartoons combine to create a strange but entertaining romp that will surprise readers at every turn.” – Publishers Weekly, USA

“…a diverting and different read-aloud.” — Kirkus

“This riddle-filled story is original, touching, incredible.” 4.5/5 stars — Livresse des Livres blog, France

”The unflappable Halley, the resourceful Koby, and the self-possessed Mimi, inspired by her talking blue bathrobe, have the right stuff to be perfect fictional friends for a home-alone school holiday. The Hellman children’s monster, Grah, is far from a Mary Poppins, but in that honored tradition of children who find fantastic adventures just beyond the purview of parents, this one is right on target to enchant middle readers who dream of summer fun during these long winter nights.” – Books For Kids Blog, USA

”This was an excellent book because it had characters that I could relate to and an interesting story. I liked that the story had a happy ending. I would recommend this book because it is a fun story that is filled with adventures and mysteries.” – Kids Book Buzz blog, USA

Editorial praise:

“Monster Nanny is a warm and engaging story, written with humour and wit. Children will love the oddness of the strange nannies and enjoy the thrill in uncovering the mystery that surrounds them.” — Alenka Veler, editor, Mladinska knjiga

“Monster Nanny is a children’s book that combines absurdist humour with an adventurous story. The author created a wonderful world, in which mothers are sent on a holiday and their inventive kids take care of themselves. There is a lot of humour in the dialogue and several jokes that make adults laugh as well (like the Invisible Voice). There is a lot to enjoy in this series!” — Thille Dop & Hannerlie Modderman, Luitingh-Sijthoff, The Netherlands

“I loved this fresh and funny novel. The author matter-of-factly creates a world where monsters work as nannies and bathrobes talk – there’s a classic old fashioned, Roald Dahl feel to it with the everyday and the fantastic interacting seamlessly. We’re happy to bring this clever and engaging Finnish novel to US readers.” — Margaret Raymo, senior editor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, USA

“I am scared of monsters, but very fond of Monster Nanny! I will tell the Chinese readers: if you want a monster and a friend, pick this work up.” — Qi Yangping, editor, Beijing Children’s Publishing House, China

“Tuutikki Tolonen has written a moving and inventive story destined to became a classic and a favourite for generations of children.” —  Olga Portella, editor, and Iolanda Batallé, publishing director, La Galera, Spain

“We are really thrilled to publish Monster Nanny in French, both for its monstrously appealing humor and its wonderful artwork! Mimi, Koby, Halley, the bathrobe and the clueless parents all bring their own fantastic personal touch and it’s bound to have parents and kids alike prolong the traditional bedtime story!” – Fabien Le Roy, editorial manager for YA & children’s books, Robert Laffont

“Monster Nanny is a lovely story with a huge heart. Clearly related to classical tales with a touch of the absurd and a great sense of humour.  Tolonen and Pitkänen have created an adventurous story which is destined to be a future classic loved and read by many, many children – and their grown-ups.” – Sofia Hahr, senior editor, Rabén & Sjögren

Praise from prize juries:

“Themes of friendship and tolerance are woven in the thrilling and good-natured adventure. – – Monster Nanny has all the ingredients of a beloved children’s classic. – Arvid Lydecken Prize jury

Within its pages, children outsmart adults, sense the vulnerable emotions of the monsters, and come to depend upon themselves and new friends. Loose-lined ink illustrations add extra humor to this imaginative fantasy, and plentiful dialogue makes it prime for reading aloud.”

— Booklist

Download reading materials

Rights sold:
FINLAND: Tammi (orig.)

ALBANIA: Westprint
AUSTRALIA: Allen & Unwin
BRAZIL: DarkSide Books
BULGARIA: Robertino
CATALAN: La Galera
CHINA: Beijing Children and Juvenile Publishing House
CZECH REPUBLIC: Portál, s. r. o.
DENMARK: Turbine forlaget
ESTONIA: Tiritamm
FRANCE: Robert Laffont
GERMANY: Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & CO. KG.
GREECE: Patakis Publishers
HUNGARY: Tessloff Babilon
ITALY: Salani
KOREA: Seosawon Co., Ltd.
LATVIA: Zvaigzne ABC Publishers
LITHUANIA: Nieko Rimto/ Publishing House Nothing Serious
NETHERLANDS: Luitingh-Sijthof
NORWAY: Gyldendal
POLAND: Vesper
ROMANIA: Editura Univers SRL
RUSSIA: Rosman
SERBIA: Laguna
SLOVENIA: Mladinska Knjiga Zalozba
SPAIN: La Galera
TURKEY: SEV Publishing / Redhouse Kidz
UKRAINE: School Publishing House
UNITED STATES: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
VIETNAM: Nha Nam Publishing

Foreign covers

About author

Tuutikki Tolonen

Tuutikki Tolonen is the author of several acclaimed children’s books, plays and academic articles. She teaches creative writing and has worked as an editor and reporter at Vinski, a Finnish literary magazine for children. For Monster Nanny she received the Arvid Lydecken award.  Her inspiration for the Monster Nanny trilogy sparked during a family breakfast. “My son Leo, then six, said: ‘I heard on the radio yesterday that all moms have to go on vacation and monsters will take their places,” she says.

Her other bestselling series is the Agnes-series, of which the first book "Agnes and the Garden of Dreams" was in 2021 nominated for the Arvid Lydecken Award, received an honorable mention for the Runeberg Junior Award, and won the Luku Varkaus Award. Tolonen tells that the inspiration for Agnes comes for her interest for weird and inexpicable tales, ghost stories and mysteries: "I wanted to write a book my daughter Aili, then nine, would like to read - not too long, not too scary, but very curious."


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