In A Tale of Two Beasts, Fiona Robertson delightfully tells the story of two beasts. One 'The Strange Beast' and the other, 'The Terrible Beast'. The book itself is divided into the two separate stories - each telling its tale and each serving to prove that there are indeed two sides to every story.
The Tale of the Strange Beast begins when a little girl walking by the woods spots a strange little creature hanging upside down from a branch and whining sadly to itself. The little girl wastes no time at all and rescues the poor creature; then, calling him 'Fang', she wraps him in her scarf and carries him safely home.
The little girl is determined to take good care of the creature so she gives it 'a lovely bath', 'a gorgeous new hat and jumper, and a delicious bowl of fresh nuts.' She even goes to the trouble of making it a house to live in. As if all this isn't enough the little girl takes him for long walks on the end of a lead and shows him off to his friends at school - everyone loves him.
But despite all of her best efforts, the strange creature doesn't seem happy and one night jumps through the window and runs back to the woods. Then later, while the girl is lying sadly in bed, a little shadow appears. The creature has returned and the little girl starts to think he isn't so strange after all. I don't want to completely spoil the ending for you so will leave it there...
The second story, 'The Terrible Beast', begins with an almost identical illustration, but this time the story is being told from the little creature's point of view so there are lots of subtle differences to watch out for. While he is hanging from his favourite tree, the little creature is 'ambushed by a terrible beast' and carried off 'to her secret lair.'
The story continues and we witness everything from the side of the little creature. Children (and adults alike) will love seeing the differences in both the text and the delightful artwork which gives this book lots to look and and talk about - making it a great one to share again and again.
Reviewed by Damian Harvey
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