Usually I feel a bit frustrated by what the New York Times Book Review chooses to feature, but the Back to School Children's Books issue from August 21 this year was full of great books I had never heard of including this gem, The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge. I LOVE this book to bits and have read it as many times as the kids will let me at story time and to my son. The colors are vivid, the locales are interesting, exotic and familiar and the Beast is both burly and endearing.
The Beast of the title is an amiable creature with a taste for simple pleasures that we can all relate to. But one day the Beast decides that these pleasures would be even more pleasurable if there were another Beast to share them with. The journey the Beast takes is part of the fun of the story, especially when it is repeated. When the Beast reaches a place that might be home to other Beasts, the people are at first frightened, but eventually won over by the Beast's ways and skill with gardening. They allow the Beast a home in a park which the Beast immediately enhances. However, there are no other Beasts to be found in this new environ so the Beast turns to the media.
Sadly, media exposure does not turn up any Beasts and the Beast decides to return home and we get to see the whole journey all over again but in reverse. Happily for everyone, Beasts and readers, there is a surprise and a wild rumpus waiting in the forest upon return...
Check out this video for a app based on the book.
And, don't miss the sequel,
THE BRAVE BEAST!