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The Lonely Beast
     

The Lonely Beast

3.5 2
by Chris Judge
 

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Have you heard of the Beasts? No, not many have. That’s because they are very rare. This is the tale of one such Beast, who decides to take a dangerous quest to find others like him. Trekking over mountains and swimming across seas, he comes at last to a great city. There he finds many delights but sadly no Beasts, so he returns home, where a surprise awaits

Overview

Have you heard of the Beasts? No, not many have. That’s because they are very rare. This is the tale of one such Beast, who decides to take a dangerous quest to find others like him. Trekking over mountains and swimming across seas, he comes at last to a great city. There he finds many delights but sadly no Beasts, so he returns home, where a surprise awaits him.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The eponymous beast is a walking silhouette, with two round, yellow dots for eyes as the only distinguishing feature in his otherwise shaggy, flat black form. Yearning for connection with his own kind ("they are so rare that there is only one Beast in each country... and they don't even know one another"), the Beast goes on a long and arduous quest, exhibiting a Keatonesque physicality and stoicism that's both poignant and funny. Arriving in a human city, he becomes a local favorite, a noted horticulturist, and even a media star ("He talked about his great journey to the city and his search for other Beasts"). Yet Beast can't shake that fish-out-of-water feeling—is sui generis really his destiny? Judge, an illustrator making his picture book debut, isn't entirely successful in keeping his deadpan, reportorial prose from feeling flat and literal, and the happy, Beast-filled ending feels too abrupt and pat. But the Beast has a shaggy charm, and his story could even stir up a discussion about the interplay between acceptance and tribalism. Ages 4–9. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Heather Christensen
Forget about Sasquatch, King Kong, and Godzilla. This Beast is a monster with culture. He drinks tea, reads books, and most importantly, loves to garden. But, tired of living a solitary life, he leaves his home to wander the world in search of other Beasts. Though he initially frightens the people he meets (he is after all a black, shadowy monster with yellow eyes), he eventually wins them over and moves into the city park where he can garden to his heart's delight. Missing his garden, he decides to return home, where to his surprise, a group of Beasts have gathered with hopes of meeting him. Judge's whimsical illustrations and effective use of comic-style panels help make up for the at-times lackluster text. This could be used in an interactive story-time, with children acting out the Beast's world travels—crossing the river, swimming through the sea (then catching a ride on a whale), and walking through the forest. Teachers of older students might also consider it as a read-aloud for units about understanding differences. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
Kirkus Reviews

Like one of Sendak's wild things embarking on a journey of its own, the hairy monster in this boiled-down quest tale abruptly sets out for parts unknown.

Being a featureless, tree-sized black silhouette with two yellow eyes, the solitary Beast looks menacing but leads a peaceable existence in a remote forest. Responding to a sudden yen for companionship, he departs one day on a long trek over land and under sea—arriving at last, after many adventures, in a city whose residents quickly get over their initial terror to make him welcome as a gardener in the local park. Being lonely still, he broadcasts public appeals in hopes of reaching others of his kind, then, when that gets no response, sets out again, retracing his original route. Using what looks like paint and cut-paper collage, Judge creates open settings in artfully contrasted colors and textures that give his central figure both a strong visual presence and an enigmatic air carrying hints of deeper meanings. Or maybe not: The Beast arrives back in his garden to find that other Beasts have gathered from all over the world to throw him a surprise party and to stick around forever after for nightly wild rumpuses.

The story could use a little more internal logic, but Judge's art stands out.(Picture book. 6-8)

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Beast is a quiet creature who tends his own garden and likes to drink tea, read a good book, walk in the snow, stand in the rain, or bake cakes. He is very lonely. A series of images, dominated by the shaggy, yellow-eyed Beast, follows his quest through forest, mountains, rivers, cliffs, waterfalls, caves, and ocean depths to find others of his kind. Page layouts highlight the action with a variety of cell groups in a small series of adventures: four squares to a page, four columns to a page, two rows to a page, two columns, two rows, eight snapshots, or even telescoped speech bubbles. Doubling of the number of images creates a sense of urgency as he finally returns home to find other Beast friends. Color contrasts with the black silhouette of the Beast—bold colors backlight rural scenes and bright pastels in city images. A nonthreatening character despite his penetrating eyes, Beast is humanlike in his needs and emotions as he quickly makes friends. This is a story of longing and perseverance with a touch of humor as Beast even interviews (wearing a tie) on TV. A general purchase for most libraries.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761380979
Publisher:
Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD400L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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Lonely Beast 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
CanadaInker4 More than 1 year ago
This cute story reminds us that we all need somebody to be our friend.  Even beasts do not want to be alone in this big old world and loneliness is not a happy emotion to experience.  Have you ever felt lonely?  In need of someone to hang out with and share yourself and life with?  Well this beast felt exactly the same way. This particular kind of beast I am talking about is extremely rare - in fact there is only one in each country of the world and you know what?  They are unaware that others exist so they spend their time in solitaire tending to their gardens, drinking tea (alone), reading books (I particularly like that), experiencing the elements around them and enjoying the fruit (cakes, pies, cupcakes etc.) of their baking frenzies.  This story centres around one such nameless beast who finally succumbs to his loneliness and sets out to find some friends to keep him company.  His rigorous adventures leads him over land and sea (and underneath the sea) until he finds himself in a great big bustling city, full of crowds of people.  He greets them with big "Hello" but quickly the people scatter and run for their safety.  The people give into their curiosity and slowly come back and connect with this big, black, gentle giant.  They become so enamoured by him they decide to let him live in their park so he can stay close by.  He immediately starts tending to the park like it was his very own garden and he soon becomes a tourist attraction drawing in  many, many visitors.  But the truth is....he's still very, very lonely.  He uses his celebrity status to go on talk radio shows, have interviews with the local newspapers and do guest appearances on t.v., telling the story of his many adventures and his his longing to find friends just like him.  His news travels worldwide (thanks to social media) and word gets out regarding his plight and his search for others that may belong to his species.  He is amazingly popular and well-liked, but the truth is...he is still very, very lonely. Late one night he quietly slips over the park fence to head back home.  He comes to the realization that he misses his garden and his home turf so much and finally comes to the realization that that is where he belongs.  He follows his heart once again and the surprise that awaits him on his return makes him very, very happy indeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago