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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Picture Book Review: The Fearsome Beastie

Author: Giles Paley-Phillips

Illustrator: Gabriele Antonini
Release date: 18th May 2011
Genre: Picture Book
Target audience: 5+
UK Publisher: Maverick


The Fearsome Beastie is a humorous picture book told in rhyme.

The children of the village are frightened of the fearsome beastie. He leaves his cave and arrives in town pretending to be their friend. Then he gobbles them up – all except one – Peter.

This story reminded me of little Red Riding Hood but it had its own contemporary twist on the tale. Paley-Phillips’ voice had a comic touch and despite the tale being dark – it was conveyed with humour.

The first two double page spreads are, I think, the weakest. The illustrations and the text really don’t seem to work together. Or rather they are both doing the same job. The author is telling us the beastie leaves his cave and the illustrator is doing the exact same thing in the picture. Perhaps the text could have included some dialogue from the beastie. It needed to give the illustrator something more to work with.

The latter half of the book is much stronger and the text and the illustrations work more cohesively. I liked all the asides the author gave us in brackets – they added humour. I liked the cartoon nature of the illustrations – it reminded me of Scooby Doo. But one further point, the positioning of the text (almost as stanzas) was a bit too traditional. It would have been good to see the illustrator find a more contemporary arrangement for the text. This would have worked well with the concept of a modern fairytale.

Overall, The Fearsome Beastie is an entertaining tale that both girls and boys aged 5+ will enjoy.

Thank you to Maverick Publishing for sending the book to review.

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