Sunday, 14 July 2019

Storybook Corner Book Review: Don't Let the Beasties Escape This Book (Children's Picture Book)

Don't Let the Beasties Escape This Book
Julie Berry
Illustrated by April Lee

Publisher: Getty Publications
Expected Publication date: 10th September 2019
Pages: 36
RRP: $17.99US
Format read: Hardcover
Source:  Courtesy of the publisher

Beware strange and magical things can happen when you peek inside a Book of Beasts.

Young Godfrey and his family toil for the lord and lady of the castle. But  when Godfrey stumbles upon an unfinished Book of Beasts, it's spectacular pictures of animals make him forget his chores. He invents the story of a brave knight, Sir Godfrey the Glorious, who battles ferocious creatures.

But who's doing the work while Godfrey daydreams? Who feeds the chickens, spreads the straw, harvests the pears, rakes the leaves and sets the supper fire ablaze?

Julie Berry takes us into the heart of thirteenth century medieval England where young Godfrey sits in the yard surrounded by the castle walls. His mother, a maidservant, tells him he will need to help out with chores. Godfrey is known to forget his chores while he drifts off into his own imaginative world with the noble knight Sir Godfrey.

An artist is in residence painting a Book of Beasts for the lady of the castle. Godfrey spies the book and decides to look through the paintings as he tells a fanciful story about the beasts in the book and how his imaginary Sir Godfrey battles them. It just so happens this is a magical book and when Godfrey names the beasts (lion, unicorn, dragon etc) they come to life from the pages. As Godfrey continues his story each beast escapes and gets up to mischief behind Godfrey’s back. As they play they inadvertently complete Godfrey’s chores for him.
The story ends with all the beasts hiding in Godfrey’s home until the artist comes and zaps them all back into the book.

This is the most adorable introduction to medieval beasts I have seen. It arrived in my mail box at a very fortuitous time as Dot, who generally loves all things scary, has recently become concerned about monsters being real. Reading Don’t Let the Beasties Escape This Book was the perfect opportunity to explain how these beasts were made up from people’s imagination and altered information. There was no internet back then and a lot of people couldn’t read or have the opportunity to travel so it is easy to see how a sighting of a rhinoceros in Africa could morph into a Unicorn by the time the news got back to England.

The story portrays the beasts in a fun and whimsical way as they get up to mischief behind Godfrey’s back. The illustrations are a story within themselves and bring a new element of entertainment to the story as we see the yard animals reactions to the beasts arrival.

I would recommend this book for any child 3+years. Dot was enthralled by the whole story whilst Jay age 3 was more interested in the vivid illustrations and loved the hide and seek with the beasties at the end.

The book also contains engaging backmatter with information on life in the Middle Ages and a mini-bestiary drawn from original 13th Century manuscripts along with typical legends and lore.

A big thank you to Getty Publications for my hardback copy.  I am sure this will become a treasured addition to our home library.


 Rated by Dot & Jay   5/5

After my fourth son was born, I decided that since my family dreams were now well underway, it was time to pursue writing novels. I went back to school and earned an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of the Fine Arts, where I learned from many talented and committed writers for young people. My first novel for young readers was published in 2009.  All the Truth That’s In Me, my first YA novel, was named a 2013 Horn Book Fanfare title, a School Library Journal Best of 2013 book, and a Kirkus Best Teen Read for 2013. It has been named a Junior Library Guild Selection and has been nominated for a Carnegie Medal and a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults award, and will be published in 14 countries internationally. My next novel, a middle grade titled The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, was published September 2014 in the US by Roaring Brook, and also in Germany, the UK, Japan, Brazil, and Viet Nam. It won an Odyssey Honor from the American Library Association, and was named a Best Children’s Book of 2014 by the Wall Street Journal, and was named to the Dorothy Canfield Fisher list. My next novel, The Passion of Dolssa, published by Viking Children’s Books, won a 2017 Printz Honor from the American Library Association, was a New York Times Notable title, was nominated for the Los Angeles Book Prize, earned five starred reviews, and earned a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten award. My next novel, The Emperor’s Ostrich, released June 2017 from Roaring Brook Press, and my upcoming novel, Lovely War, releases in spring 2019 from Viking children's books.

About the illustrator: 
April Lee is an illustrator, character animator, and 2D special effects animator who works for several major television and film studios. Her animated e-book The Dragon and the Pixies earned honorable mentions at the London Book Festival and the Los Angeles Book Festival.   


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