The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips, illustrated by Isabelle Follath

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips, illustrated by Isabelle Follath. Aladdin, 2020. 9781534478893

Format: ARC (12/20 pub date)

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre:  Fantasy/horror

What did you like about the book? Ebenezer Tweezer is 511 years old, going on 512. The reason for his great age and good looks? The monster in his attic vomits up an anti-aging potion when Ebenezer gives it fresh meat. Up until the events in this story, the beast has been satisfied with animals, but now it wants human flesh. Enter Bethany Bogoff, a mean and angry orphan whom Ebenezer adopts with the express purpose of feeding her to the monster. Despite her unpleasant demeanor, Ebenezer grows used to her, and even a bit fond, and as he does, Bethany becomes just a little bit nicer. When it comes time to feed her to the beast, they must figure out how to satisfy its hunger, gain the potion, and save Bethany.

This is a darkly humorous story. The magical potion is like a fountain of youth for Ebenezer. Readers will dislike Bethany at first, but her personality undergoes a change as she develops a relationship with Ebenezer. The frequent black and white illustrations complement the tone and story nicely.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I didn’t love the concept of buying a kid for a human sacrifice, but some readers may find it intriguing.

To whom would you recommend this book?  For fans of such authors as Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl, ages 9-12.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: February 6, 2021

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