Don't Let the Beasties Escape This Book
Illustrated by April Lee
Publisher: Getty Publications
Expected Publication date: 10th September 2019
Format read: Hardcover
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
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
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.