Skip to main content
PBS logo

Search - Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1)

Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1)
Mister Monday - Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1
Author: Garth Nix
Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. — Arthur is safe -- but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messen...  more »
Info icon
ISBN-13: 9780439551236
ISBN-10: 0439551234
Publication Date: 7/1/2003
Pages: 368
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 140 ratings
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

skywriter319 avatar reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 784 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
12-year-old asthmatic Arthur Penhaligon was supposed to die that Monday. That's why the unfulfilled Will -- created by the Architect, broken by insubordinates -- managed to infiltrate the body of Mister Monday's butler and convince his master to hand half of his clock-hand-shaped key to Arthur. Mister Monday does so, believing that he will be able to quickly retrieve the key back after Arthur dies and thus fulfilling the Will.

However, once Arthur accepts the key, he is mysteriously tied to it as the rightful heir to the Will. The key heals him and gives him powers, but throws him into a frightening strop with Mister Monday, who infiltrates the world as we know it with a deadly plague and scary dog-faced Nithlings. In order to save the human race and discover the answers to his many questions, Arthur enters a House that only he can see.

This brings him to another world, one whose main object is to keep records of everything that is happening in our universe. There, he befriends Suzy Blue and the Will, who is in the shape of a frog in this world. Monday and his cronies are determined to take the key back from Arthur, though, and so Arthur must endure many trying episodes on his journey to claim the other half of the key from Mister Monday.

MISTER MONDAY begins a series that looks to be extremely interesting. Fans of high fantasy or science fiction will appreciate this book.
reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 2
I actually loved this series. Garth Nix's idea of the world was very origional and it was very entertaining to read. Lots of twists and turns. Any 8 year old would love this book.

Good book by a popular writer. If you like books like this, try Cornelia Funke. :)
reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
YA book, but I like the genre and the author (author of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen trilogy). This first book in the series is way out there on the imagination scale--there's not many realistic details in this story!
charliedollie avatar reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read this book years ago, when I was thirteen. It kept my attention and I couldn't put it down! I highly recommend this book for young adults/teens who enjoy fantasy.
nov avatar reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Truly original and fun.
It is geared toward YA but is savvy enough to keep the attention of adults.

I read his Old Kingdom series (Abhorsen) and I was skeptical at first if this series would measure up - well I haven't been disappointed.
Each book gets better and better.

I love the imagery and unique take. I enjoyed this much more than the more famous Golden Compass by Pullman.
Read All 13 Book Reviews of "Mister Monday Keys to the Kingdom Bk 1"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 1436 more book reviews
This is the story of a young boy who has severe asthma. His attacks are frequent and debilitating, often landing him in the hospital. While tale is not as imaginative as the Abhorsen series, I think it merits reading. (I think that this series must be aimed at a younger audience than Abhorsen.) Arthur meets a man named Mister Monday who gives him a large minute hand in the belief that he is dying and he will then get the hand back. Unfortunately for Mister Monday, Arthur survives as the hand strengthens his lungs, courage and determination to live a normal life but not before he has many adventures and makes new friends. Arthur enters a strange house that only he can see where he must discover for himself the secrets of the hand and learns that he must obtain the hour hand as well. There is action, adventure, magic and excitement sure to pique the interest of the young reader and hopefully, encourage him/her to read the rest of the series.
reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 63 more book reviews
great book my 13 year old grandson loves it. his favoriate is angel experiment by patterson
Codswallop avatar reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 6 more book reviews
This is the first book in Garth Nix's Keys To The Kingdom series. If you enjoy fantasy fiction like Harry Potter, or Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, then this series is for you. I have read most of Garth Nix's other work and these books are my favorite of his to date (2009). The tone of these stories is far less dark and creepy than most of his other ones (which I liked too), but the world and the storyline he has created here just feels more fleshed out and complete.

He draws on elements of Christian religious tradition to frame his story, but in ways that are quirky, almost absurd, and not really corresponding to any kind of religious orthodoxy. It is chock full of interesting ideas though, and great fun for adults who might "catch" more of that as they read than a kid would. It has been pointed out that the characters the books are named after (unfaithful "Trustees" who are supposed to uphold the Will of the Architect/Creator who has vanished and left the Universe and all creation in their hands) correspond to the seven deadly sins in the manner in which they each are corrupted and fail in their duty. These being sloth, pride, gluttony, et al.

The hero of the piece, Arthur Penhaligon, is a young, teen-aged boy who by chance and against his will finds himself charged with defeating each faithless Trustee and setting the "universe" to rights. He feels impelled to do this because it is the only way to protect his own world, his family and everything he cares about, but the process makes him less and less human and possibly unable to ever return to his normal life and existence.

Garth Nix is one of my favorite authors and this series is some of his best work ever. I highly recommend it.

The complete series is:

Mister Monday (book 1)
Grim Tuesday (book 2)
Drowned Wednesday (book 3)
Sir Thursday (book 4)
Lady Friday (book 5)
Superior Saturday (book 6)
Lord Sunday (book 7, not yet released as of this writing - May 2009)
nov avatar reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 7 more book reviews
I am on the last book of the series and so far I highly recommend these books.

Garth Nix is one of my favorite authors primarily because of his ability to create creatures, worlds, and environments, that feel truly unique. Many other YA Fantasy authors usually only build upon old myths or present retellings of old classic creatures - (Percy Jackson, Twilight, and dare I say Harry Potter). In Keys to the Kingdom you never know what to expect. The descriptions are filled with unique visual imagery that are not boring.

This series is definitely geared more towards a younger audience (11-17 years??), although that did not deter me nor my 33 year old husband from enjoying the books.

Two critiques I have of the series:
1: they are somewhat episodical. Although, not as episodical as Lemony Snickets; more like the first 3 books of Harry Potter. This might be done in order to keep the attentions of a younger audience??

2: the characters do not experience extreme emotional depths. There is enough emotion to keep you concerned and rooting for the characters, just not as much as Nix's other books like Sabriel or Abhorsen.

IF you get the first book with the "Afterwords" section I recommend reading it. It give useful insight into the story. Specifically it talks about the impetus for creating the series and shares how a passage from Dante's Inferno and even C.S. Lewis influenced the series.
barbsis avatar reviewed Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 1076 more book reviews
Arthur Penhaligon suffers from asthma and has been hospitalized many times. During a gym class at a new school, he suffers so badly that two of the students decide to get help and leave him alone. While he is alone, Mister Monday and Sneezer appear out of nowhere and gift Arthur with a clock minute hand which Arthur calls the key. They do this because they believe Arthur is going to die and they can immediately get the key back. (Mister Monday must relinquish the key as The Will dictates but there is nothing that says he cannot take it back). However, the key actually helps Arthur breathe and saves his life. Arthur thinks the whole thing is a hallucination from oxygen deprivation but when the police and ambulance quarantine the school, he starts to believe that something weird went down. Thus starts a bizarre adventure with dastardly villains (Mister Monday to be exact, as well as his evil minions) and danger at every turn. Arthur is immediately swept up into the House and into a very strange situation. Of course, Arthur's only goal is to find a cure for the plague that has shut down his town and return home but The Will has other plans for Arthur.

This is a really interesting story from Garth Nix, an author I've never read before but will definitely be reading 2, Grim Tuesday to be exact as soon as the library coughs it up.

Book Wiki

Arthur Penhaligon (Primary Character)