Tuesday 7 August 2012

The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley-Phillips and Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing)

The lovely folk at GPP PR and Marketing tweeted us @readitdaddy recently to ask if we'd like to review some books. Lo and behold, four lovely books arrived in the post yesterday and this was the one Charlotte instantly seized on.

Worry-wort parents might want to look away now.

Because, oh my...oh my oh my....

 ....this is a tricky one to review.

"The Fearsome Beastie" is the sort of book my lovely other half @thestrollingmum blanches at whenever we bring home monstrous books from the library. A recent winner of The People's Book Prize, this book really doesn't pull any punches (or axes!). Most monsters in books are rather pleasant folk who start off shouting, gnashing and snarling and end up rather placid, even friendly. The fearsome beastie in this book isn't like that at all. He prowls at night, he likes to eat young children and he thinks nothing of tricking them into trusting them before he gobbles them all up.

There's a message here though, and it's a very strong stark message about 'monsters' that's woven between the gently rhyming text, and the (sometimes rather graphic but beautifully done) illustrations.

Personally I wouldn't recommend this as a bedtime read (in fact I wouldn't recommend this 8 hours either side of bedtime or nap time) and I'm gobsmacked that one particular picture panel made it through editing intact but Charlotte wanted to read it again as soon as we'd finished. If you don't baulk at the thought of your children reading something that feels like a 'warts 'n' all' classic children's fairy story, this is very much cut from the same cloth.

Maverick Books are definitely a force in Children's Publishing to keep an eye on though. Superb high quality book beautifully presented.

Charlotte's best bit: Of course she liked the 'shock' bit the best (and I'm sure your kids would too!)

Daddy's favourite bit: The fact that this doesn't shy away from letting a monster be monstrous, menacing and downright nasty.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars