Tuesday, August 25, 2015
A Tale of Two Beasts, written and illustrated by Fiona Roberton. Kane MIller, Publisthers Group Canada. 2015. $12.99 ages 4 and up
... he wasn't that strange after all."
I love stories told from variety in point of view. When they are told as well as this one is, it makes a big impact on readers. It also provides mentoring for young writers when it comes to telling their own stories.
The first voice is that of Beast One - a young girl. In first person voice she describes a walk from her grandmother's house through the woods. From behind a tree she notices a small beast (a gray squirrel) moaning sorrowfully on a nearby tree branch. She saves him, wraps him up and takes him home where he is coddled, dressed, fed and given a new home. He is put on display for all of her friends, but doesn't seem all that happy. When he leaves abruptly, she worries and frets. To her surprise, he returns and convinces her to go back to the woods with him.
That is when we are told the second part of the story - from the perspective of The Terrible Beast.
He explains that he was singing, not moaning, when he was 'AMBUSHED' by another terrible beast. That beast growls, hogties him and takes him home to her lair. His life with her is miserable:
"She showed me off to a herd of even wilder beasts, who were just as terrible as she was."
His escape is a success and life returns to normal, until he remembers the hat he wore and wonders if it might keep him dry in rainstorms. He sneaks back to get it. As we know from the first part, his return is noticed. It leads to a romp together in the woods, and a warm and heartfelt realization.
The artist keeps the art almost identical for each character, but for the small, telling details that clearly show their differing views. It's a feast for the eyes and the heart.