The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge

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The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A wonderful story with fabulous, contemporary comic book style illustrations.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2011
Publisher: Andersen
ISBN: 978-1849392556

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The beast likes to garden. And drink tea. And read. And bake cakes. But he lives by himself, and he is lonely. So one day he decides to go on a journey to try to discover whether there are any other beasts in the world.

There's something endearing about the beast. You know from the start that he isn't a scary monster. How can he be with such a beautiful garden, or wearing his little chef's hat? And so we're immediately on his side, following his journey with interest as he scales mountains, steep cliffs and dark caves. When he finally makes it to the city the people are initially scared but they soon realise he is friendly and they invite him to live in their park, appear on their chat shows, and interview him in the press in a bid to find more beasts. When none appear he sadly makes his way back home (and we see this return journey as a reverse of the first journey, much as we do with We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury) but of course once he arrives he discovers lots of beasts, who had all been lonely too and come to find him.

I really like the style of this book. The story itself is good - well written and appealing to children who like these journey/quest stories. Yet it's the illustrations that really make this special. Chris Judge uses different panels throughout - some full page pictures, half page, small cartoon boxes or long panels down the page. The beast is just a black, shaggy monster, something like a yeti, with two yellow circles for eyes. Very simple, but perfectly done. Some of the pictures really made me smile, such as when the beast is swimming in the sea and a seagull lands on his head, or when he plays with the dolphins, jumping through the water like them. I also like the picture of him being interviewed on a chat show, and he is still just the plain silhouette like beast, but he is wearing a tie!

The colours are vibrant, and there is lots to look at throughout the book. It introduces a different way of following a story for younger readers who perhaps haven't come across comics or graphic novels yet, and I found it added extra interest for me too as I read it aloud to my daughter, being something different to most picture books. My husband also liked it, though I'd better add that he was unhappy with how the other beasts found the beast at the end. They all gather to meet him at his home, although he'd been waiting for them in the city in the park before. The beast didn't tell anyone he was heading back home, and he left in the middle of the night secretly, so how did they know where to go? I think my husband is over thinking it too much, but thought I'd mention it for those who take their picture books very seriously! As for me, I'm looking forward to seeing more from Chris Judge in the future.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion:

For something more traditionally illustrated, but bringing another outsider into the city try The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds. We also loved Mr Big by Ed Vere.

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Buy The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge at


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