The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker

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The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Catherine Bakes
Reviewed by Catherine Bakes
Summary: There's a Beast on the moors, and Bill is determined to find it, and kill it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: January 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1406329902

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Bill Coward is mature for a child his age – cooking for his father and grandfather (Chunder), undressing his father and putting him to bed when he comes home drunk. So when the mill his father and grandfather work at is closed down, their world is thrown into turmoil. Mike's (Bill's best friend) father has a nervous breakdown. Bill's father goes off to Scotland to work in the oil fields.

To take their mind off what's happening at home they decide to hunt down the Beast – a creature that has killed all of Chunder's hens, local livestock and stray cats. They want to get a photograph of the Beast, so Bill can use the reward to bring his father home. Armed with a stolen camera, they set out onto the moors to hunt down the Beast.

The story is told from the perspective of Bill, so you really get into his head. He's a likeable character, and easy to sympathise with. At the same time he did scare me a bit, he's definitely old before his time and very unchild-like. He's full of bottled rage, and ready to explode.

The story itself is just fantastic; it picks you up at the beginning and doesn't put you down until the last page. The juxtaposition between the two running storylines is clever – the wildness of nature and the Beast, and the controlled industrial closer of the mill and redundancy. I have to say the use of dialect is just brilliant, especially in Chunder's case; it really draws you in to the setting and the story. I didn't realise until looking for this book on Amazon that it was first published in 1985 – I was a bit surprised. This book doesn't feel outdated in the slightest, if anything it's timeless.

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

Further reading suggestion: If you like I suggest you read Kit's Wilderness or Heaven Eyes both by David Almond.

Buy The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker at Amazon.com.


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