Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips, and I am excited to be sharing my review with you all.
Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .
The Beast and the Bethany was such a breath of fresh air for me. As most of you know, most of the books I read are super serious thrillers, so it was great to take a break and read something so fun and silly. Middle Grade is definitely out of my usual comfort zone, but I’m trying to broaden my reading range, and I am so glad I read this book.
There are quite a few references that children might not even realise, but us adult readers definitely will. For example, Ebenezer’s artwork that he has throughout his house is described, and the artist in me just had to work out what all of the famous works of art were, before they were shown in an illustration later on in the book (I got them all right, and was extremely proud of myself).
Despite the characters not having the most likeable personalities, this is what makes them so much fun to read about, and some of them actually have really lovely character developments. I don’t want to say much about the characters, because I don’t want to ruin it for the rest of you, but I will say that given Bethany’s past, and everything she has been through, you can’t really blame her for being a bit angry at everyone around her.
There is a great meaning behind the story too. Being nice doesn’t cost anything, but it certainly gives the greatest rewards. Don’t be greedy, always tell the truth, and always try to be a good person, you’ll be much happier for it.
Jack Meggitt-Phillips is a very promising new author, and I am looking forward to reading what he has to offer in the future, including the sequel to The Beast and the Bethany. To me, this book is what you would expect if Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket had a baby, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. This is a story that adults will love, just as much as children.
I give The Beast and the Bethany a 4 star rating.
About The Author (and illustrator):
Jack Meggitt-Phillips is an incredibly exciting new talent. He is an author, scriptwriter and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading PG Wodehouse novels.
Isabelle Follath is an illustrator who has worked in advertising, fashion magazines and book publishing, but her true passion lies in illustrating children’s books. She also loves drinking an alarming amount of coffee, learning new crafts and looking for the perfect greenish-gold colour. Isabelle lives in Zurich, Switzerland.
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