|Beast and the Bethany (Beast and the Bethany)|
Author: Meggitt-Phillips, Jack
Handsome Ebenezer Tweezer has lived comfortably for nearly 512 years by feeding the magical beast in his mansion's attic whatever it wants, but when the beast demands a child, they are not prepared for Bethany.
Kirkus Reviews (10/01/20)
School Library Journal (11/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2020 Gr 3–6—At 511 years old, Ebenezer Tweezer has a wonderful life, despite doing nothing to deserve it. Every year he receives an anti-aging potion from a beast, and all he has to do in return is feed the beast whatever it wants—from statues to house cats to a rare purple-breasted parrot. But Ebenezer gets quite a shock when the beast decides what he really wants to try is a human child. Ebenezer adopts the obnoxious orphan Bethany, thinking she'll be easy to sacrifice. But much to their mutual surprise, the two have a lot to learn from each other. This book is delightful from the first sentence, reminiscent of Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman at their cleverest. Ebenezer and Bethany are excellent foils, each despicable in their own way while slowly drawing out the other's best qualities. The story is at turns funny, shocking, and redemptive, and flows well through each twist. Side characters, while not taking up much scene time, are well developed and add depth. Follath's black-and-white illustrations emphasize the whimsical, and sometimes dark feel of the book. The ending, however, may give readers pause: While adding a darker tone, it feels out-of-place and opposes the hard-won redemption from the previous chapter. VERDICT This book will appeal to readers because of its clever humor, despicable characters, and shocking reveals. It will fit nicely alongside zanier books like those from Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman's Fortunately, the Milk, and Lois Lowry's "The Willoughbys" series.—Kristin Brynsvold, Tuckahoe Elem. Sch., Arlington, VA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/01/2020 Dorian Gray had a portrait; Ebenezer Tweezer has a voracious Beast in the attic of his posh mansion that vomits up antiaging potions in exchange for whatever it demands. So it is that with his 512th birthday coming up, Ebenezer either has to bring the Beast a suitably plump child or die. Unfortunately, that child turns out to be Bethany—seemingly a perfect choice, being the most willful, obstinate, ill-tempered orphaned brat ever to bring misery to the lives of everyone at Miss Fizzlewick’s Institute for Gentlemanly Boys and Ladylike Ladies. Why unfortunate? Because against their better judgements, Ebenezer and Bethany reluctantly take a liking to each other. In best Roald Dahl tradition, the Beast is a menacing, murderous monster. Better yet, dubbing the genuinely remorseful Ebenezer “the most good bad person I know,” Bethany contrives by the end to give him one last, welcome chance at a better life. Sample ink-and-wash illustrations by Follath capture both the contemporary setting and the gothic flavor of this unexpectedly touching debut. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.