Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com
Fantasy writer Garth Nix has created a short story collection for the younger set. Exploring the underworld of rat pirates; adoptions of Earthlings by odd, tentacled aliens; a princess literally searching the belly of the beast; and a brainiac solving the dilemmas of a kindhearted sea serpent, Nix introduces young readers to the possibilities of the imagination between the covers of a book.
ONE BEASTLY BEAST is an excellent choice for the reluctant reader. The full manuscript is around 120 pages, which can make a RR groan. However, each story is only about a quarter of the book, so readers can actually finish a single storyline very quickly. Additionally, illustrator Brian Biggs provides a number of illustrations to kick-start the imaginations of readers who might need a little extra motivation to continue to the end.
Possibly the strongest point regarding the construction of this book, however, is that even though it is a collection of four short stories, Nix still divides each story into chapters, thus giving young readers a taste of chapter books, as well as further dividing the reading challenge into smaller bites for the most reluctant of readers.
For those who are looking for something that will motivate a boy to read, this book will do just that, with pirates, rats, inventors, and aliens. Nix doesn't forget about his young female audience, however; they will love the adventure-seeking princess, penguinmaids, and the super-smart Serena, who saves the day with her bravery and willingness to dig deeper and understand the heart of a vegetarian sea serpent.
Overall, this is a book for every young reader; Nix has scored a fantasy winner with ONE BEASTLY BEAST (TWO ALIENS, THREE INVENTORS, FOUR FANTASTIC TALES).
Four tales for young boy and girl readers. Medieval monsters, adoptive aliens, rat pirates, and thoughtful penguins - what more could a kid want?!