The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips #BookReview

Hello and welcome back to my blog where today I am part of The Write Reads blog tour for this weird and wonderful new children’s book from Jack Meggit-Phillips which is published by Egmont on 1st October. Thank you all for having me on the tour and for my gifted e-book đź’š Even more exciting news is that this story is being made into a big budget Hollywood movie by Warner Brothers!

The blurb …

The most exciting new children’s book of 2020 and a modern classic in the making.The Beast and the Bethanyhas all the classic macabre humour of Roald Dahl with the warmth and charm ofDespicable Me, finished off with a gleeful bite ofLittle Shop of Horrors! This book should be on every little monster’s birthday and Christmas list.

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan…

My review …

I really enjoyed this story and it was great to be able to read a book to my eight-year-old daughter that kept us both entertained, but in different ways. I could appreciate the depth of the plot while my daughter was swept away with the humour and gore of the story.

As the blurb explains, Ebeneezer has to feed the beast in his attic all sorts of things and in return the beast vomits out (yes gross, but the kids love it) various items that Ebeneezer wants, including a potion that keeps him forever young. But he has essentially created a monster to feed his own selfish desires, and when the beast demands a child to eat, Ebeneezer is in two minds. He knows that this is probably a step too far, but his vanity and greed gets the better of him and he sets out to find a child for the beast. Ebeneezer eases his conscience by finding the most horrible child he can, but will his plan be as straightforward as he thinks?

Jack Meggitt-Phillips’ writing style is intelligent, witty and enthralling and it draws you into Ebeneezer’s strange little world. The descriptions are so imaginative and appealing to young children, for instance ‘the house was as wide as a dozen elephants’. You can imagine the picture this conjures up, and they will love the gruesome descriptions of the smelly beast and his eating habits. There are also references that might go over a child’s head, but which made me laugh, such as the little suitcase that Bethany finds, I won’t give anything away, but I thought that was genius.

The characterisation is brilliant. Ebeneezer is eccentric and posh while Bethany is feisty and brattish. Both are flawed characters that you just can’t help but like, and it was wonderful to see how the characters grow emotionally and how their relationship evolves throughout the book.

Aside from all the fun and silliness, the story will evoke empathy in children as orphaned Bethany has a very sad backstory, but this is hugely important for a child’s emotional development and why reading with children is so important.

The illustrations are superb and they fit perfectly with the quirky and dark nature of the book. My daughter loved studying them so much that it took a while to get back to reading at times!

The story keeps a great pace all the way through, right up until the exciting ending that will have children on the edge of their seats. This is a fabulously dark and amusing book that kids will love. My daughter and I are looking forward to the release of the movie, as well as the sequel to this book – The Beast and the Bethany 2 – Uncaged!

About the author …

Jack Meggitt-Phillips is an incredibly exciting new talent. He is an author, scriptwriter and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading PG Wodehouse novels.

The illustrator …

Isabelle Follath is an illustrator who has worked in advertising, fashion magazines and book publishing, but her true passion lies in illustrating children’s books. She also loves drinking an alarming amount of coffee, learning new crafts and looking for the perfect greenish-gold colour. Isabellelives in Zurich, Switzerland.

Follow the blog tour …

Search the hashtags and follow @TheWriteReads on twitter …

Thanks for reading!

đź’š

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