I loved the artwork for Don’t Let the Beasties Escape This Book by Julie Berry and illustrated by the wonderfully talented April Lee. Travel back in time to have a look at some of the fantastical creatures that made their way into a medieval bestiary and the young boy who reads a very magical book aloud that he probably should have left alone. I think this book is an amazing way to get children interested history as they learn about the ways in which animals were documented in the past. And, even more wonderfully, there’s even a bit at the end for those kiddos who want to read a little bit more into the work that was being put into the book that our dashing young main character, Godfrey, finds at the beginning of the story that touches base on what bestiaries are, how they work, and what impact they had on the past. While I loved the book already, I have to admit that this piece was something I was exceedingly excited about.
Our story begins with young Godfrey talking to his parents, peasants who work up at the castle who warn him to leave the scribe who is writing the newest addition to the king’s bestiary collection be whilst he goes about doing his chores for the day. Of course, Godfrey who has a wild imagination and great dreams of being a brave knight–who didn’t in that time period, though?–doesn’t listen to his parents and sneaks in to take a peek at the book before snatching it up to imagine an adventure for himself. The scribe, someone whom is easily identified as a wizard seems to have been up to some mischief of his own and as Godfrey imagines his adventure, he reads aloud from the book. Each time he names a creature, it finds its way out from its pages.
This is a wonderfully amusing and engaging read, one I had great joy moving through. I found the main character relatable and fun, definitely someone that I would have looked up to had I read this story as a child. It’s certainly the kind of book that I would love to get a kid of my own at some point in the future, if I ever have one. It’s definitely a tale right up my alley and one I had a blast reading.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.