Thursday, August 16

One Beastly Beast: Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales

by Garth Nix
HarperCollins 2007

In his introduction Nix introduces us to a lucky boy who loved to read all kinds of stories, especially ones with monsters and adventures and all sorts of fantastical things. He then explains that he was that boy, and that when he writes he likes to write the sort of things he'd like to read.

This book was written for that boy.

This collection brings together four shorter stories of children -- two boys and two girls -- who each have their own sort of fantastical adventures.

* * * * *

That's as much as I wrote before I went on holiday, followed by some notes intended to help me remember the stories so I could flesh out the review later. In the interest of showing you the very thought process behind a review, a sort of armature for the way my brain works, and out of sheer laziness I've decided to leave my notes raw and unedited for all the world to see.

story 1. puns: rats, pirates (pie rats), pirate videos, worm holes, bread-seeking cheese

story 2. princess, bloody beast (her pet pig) eaten by robot monster created by aunt

story 3. orphaned inventor boy wards off pirates, wizard and alien adopters until his time traveling parents can retrieve him

story 4. girl with big brain, talks to sea serpent blinded by harbor lights, turning girls into penguins

If all that doesn't spark some sort of interest, well, then I guess I couldn't blame you. All I can say, as a reader and reviewer, if you know Garth Nix then you can trust he has a much better way with words than I do. These stories are entirely and thoroughly enjoyable, a perfect mix for antsy middle grade readers looking for something shorter.


Anonymous said...

Oh thank you. Adding it to my list.

Unknown said...

My 3.5 year old ADORES this book (we picked it up for airplane reading where we go for longer books). Blackbread the pirate is OK, but the bloody beast? Oh, she loves that one. The only downside is that I did end up reading her all 230 pages in one go at one point. The upside is that you can now ask her what you should do if a monster is going to eat you, and she says sweetly "Jump over the teeth and down the gullet and cut yourself out from the inside. Use a SHARP knife." The last time she did this one of the bystanders said "See? Who says you can't learn important life skills from literature?"

Anonymous said...

Well, D., your description was intriguing, but Elizabeth's daughter just sold me completely.

david elzey said...

You know, sometimes I think books are beyond adults to review. Or maybe it's just me. But sometimes you read a book (like this one) and you know people of all ages will dig it and all you can do is push it into their hands and say "Here, just read it."

Another important lesson learned from children's literature: kids know what they like about a book and aren't afraid to share.