It’s been a minute since I’ve brought you a blog tour, hasn’t it? Well, you are in for a treat today! It’s my stop on #TheWriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour for a gem of a middle grade called The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips. I want to thank Dave @ The Write Reads, Egmont Books, and the author for sending me an e-ARC so I could participate in the tour! I had such a fun time with this book and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
That being said, let’s get to it!
“Lemony Snicket meets Roald Dahl in this riotously funny, deliciously macabre, and highly illustrated tale of a hungry beast, a vain immortal man, and a not-so-charming little girl who doesn’t know she’s about to be eaten.
Beauty comes at a price. And no one knows that better than Ebenezer Tweezer, who has stayed beautiful for 511 years. How, you may wonder? Ebenezer simply has to feed the beast in the attic of his mansion. In return for meals of performing monkeys, statues of Winston Churchill, and the occasional cactus, Ebenezer gets potions that keep him young and beautiful, as well as other presents.
But the beast grows ever greedier with each meal, and one day he announces that he’d like to eat a nice, juicy child next. Ebenezer has never done anything quite this terrible to hold onto his wonderful life. Still, he finds the absolutely snottiest, naughtiest, and most frankly unpleasant child he can and prepares to feed her to the beast.
The child, Bethany, may just be more than Ebenezer bargained for. She’s certainly a really rather rude houseguest, but Ebenezer still finds himself wishing she didn’t have to be gobbled up after all. Could it be Bethany is less meal-worthy and more…friend-worthy?”
- Author: Jack Meggitt-Phillips
- Illustrator: Isabelle Follath
- Publisher: Egmont Books (UK)/Aladdin Books (US)
- Publication date: October 1st, 2020 (UK)/December 8th, 2020 (US)
- Genre: Fantasy
- Age group: Middle Grade
- Content warnings: Gobbling of various creatures in a most unpleasant fashion
About the Author
Jack Meggitt-Phillips 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 P.G. Wodehouse novels. You can also find him on Twitter.
Isabelle Follath is a freelance illustrator living in Zurich, Switzerland, with her lovely husband, her sweet daughter, and her fabulous dog. She has worked for advertising agencies, magazines, and publishers for over fifteen years, but Isabelle’s true passion lies in illustrating children’s books. When not drawing, Isabelle can be found making lots of coffee, trying new crafts, or going on a hunt for new art supplies and the perfect greenish-gold watercolor. Visit her online at IsabelleFollath.ch.
“Bethany looked up at the fifteen-story house which was as wide as a dozen elephants. She shrugged her shoulders and returned to reading the comics.
“Aren’t you going to say ‘Whoa!’ or ‘Gosh!’?” asked Ebenezer.
“Nah,” said Bethany. “There’s nothing impressive about a waste of space.”
I’m going to be honest with you, reader. I’m having a difficult time starting this review. Why, you ask? Was it so ghastly that I can’t find the words to describe it? Was it so horrific that my mind boggles just thinking about it?
Well… yes and no.
It was ghastly and horrific but in all the right ways! In this book, we follow our main character, Ebenezer Tweezer, who is about to celebrate his 512th birthday. Yes, you read that right. How has he managed to reach such an unfathomable age? With the aid of the beast that lives in his attic. And all he has to do to receive the secret to eternal youth is feed it. Seems like an easy trade, right? Sure… until the beast starts asking for more and more exotic things to eat. Like performing monkeys, parrots capable of carrying on compelling conversations, and, now… a nice, plump child. Ebenezer, though, has it all figured out! He’ll just find a nasty, unlovable child that no one will miss and feed it to the beast. Enter
Bog Off Bethany. She’s obnoxious, she’s cruel, and she seems the perfect meal. But, as Ebenezer gets Bethany ready for dinner (not hers, of course), pesky things like emotions and friendship start messing up his plan.
This book, with its tongue-in-cheek humor and its unlovable-yet-strangely-endearing characters, was just a treat! I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book. I loved the humor, I loved the sneaky references to other children’s tales, and I loved the overall tone. This is a book that even a reluctant reader would find hard to put down. It’s creepy, it’s scary, but it has a lot of heart, as well. I think it was the perfect blend of funny and touching, with a wonderful message squirreled away inside (though don’t let Ebenezer or Bethany know, okay?).
Speaking of Ebenezer and Bethany, it was wonderful watching them grow throughout this book. I loved both of their characters so much! I mean… as characters in a book. As actual people, I would probably stay far away from them. At least as they were at the beginning of the book! But I can’t wait to see more of them and watch their continued growth as the series continues.
Oh, and can we talk about the illustrations?! I had no idea I would be graced with such vibrant and lovely pictures throughout the book! They really helped to bring the characters to life. Any adult who says they don’t like pictures in their books is lying and does not remember what joy is. (Just kidding, you can hate pictures in books all you like, it’s your life!)
I will say that I have one teensy, tiny gripe and that’s the fact that this book felt too short! I know that there will be more books, but I was left feeling like I had left half the meal on my plate for no good reason. I was hungry for more, but I suppose I’ll just have to wait!
Final thoughts: This is a funny, dark, and gruesome book with two main characters you kind of want to strangle at first. It’s filled with wit, heart, and some stunning illustrations to make the reading experience that much more captivating! If you have a kid that maybe isn’t the biggest fan of reading, give them this book. I’ll bet they’ll be laughing out loud within the first few pages and begging for more! And, if you’re an adult that’s looking for a quick bit of fun, you can’t go wrong with The Beast and the Bethany.