Hi friends! I’m so excited to be back for another @WriteReads blog tour for The Beast and The Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips. Special thanks to Netgalley and Egmont Publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!
Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour here.
Goodreads: The Beast and the Bethany
Publisher: Egmont Publishing
Published: 01 October 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
The most exciting new children’s book of 2020 and a modern classic in the making. The Beast and the Bethany has all the classic macabre humour of Roald Dahl with the warmth and charm of Despicable Me, finished off with a gleeful bite of Little Shop of Horrors! This book should be on every little monster’s birthday and Christmas list.
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 . . .
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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. Isabellelives in Zurich, Switzerland.
The best thing about participating in blog tours is that I get to learn about fantastic books that I otherwise never would’ve heard of–and I’m so glad this one was put on my radar! The Beast and the Bethany was such a well-written, engaging and fast read with some good lessons that both children and adults will be able to enjoy. The book includes illustrations that are really well done and that help to bring the characters and story even more to life. This served major Roald Dahl vibes that had me reminiscing on my childhood days reading those magical, sometimes grotesque, and often weird and funny stories, and I loved every minute of it!
The very first sentence of this book worked its magic to reel me in because I was so very curious to know why Ebenezer Tweezer was a terrible man with a wonderful life. Tweezer spent the majority of his life catering to The Beast in exchange for his selfish desire to be eternally youthful. He never cared to consider the consequences of his actions until Bethany comes into his life. Bethany was a cheeky little troublemaker and you knew it from the moment we meet her despite the innocent front she tries to put on. She’s continuously playing pranks and making mischief but we learn that her outward behaviour is a defence against the vulnerability she feels being an orphan. Tweezer and Bethany start off as very morally grey characters and I loved to see that in a MG book! But while they start off morally ambiguous, their characters experience such great growth as the story goes on.
I loved how they both discovered the joy of being kind and how they both found their rhythm in being ‘better people’, without being too nice, of course 😉 These two characters often had me cracking up with their hilarious and crazy antics (the things they’d get up to while completing Bethany’s bucket list really had me LOLing) and I loved seeing them open up to each other and become their own weird little family. The Beast was an interesting and purely evil character, but I was interested in learning more about the origin of the giant blob (I would definitely get eaten alive for saying that) and I’m hoping that since the story will continue, we’ll find out more in the next book!
TL;DR: A wonderfully weird middle-grade story with characters you will root for and a magical beast that you will be more than happy to see vanquished. It’s an unexpectedly heartwarming story with perfect accompanying illustrations and is an absolute delight to read for both young(er) and old(er) audiences.
Have you read The Beast and the Bethany or is it on your TBR?