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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Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 3 months, you will have heard of The Beast and the Bethany. There has been a MASSIVE marketing push for this novel. Here’s just some of the PR spin that’s been issued:
Major film deal announced with Warner Brothers and Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer, David Heyman.
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.
Really? REALLY? The cynic in me was not convinced by such a level of pomp and bluster. How good can a children’s book written by a 20-something really be? (Note: I have no idea how old Meggitt-Phillips is – his age is impossible to find online. But he looks to be in his 20’s… either that or he has a potion… wait… oooooh!)
Unfortunately, as is usually the case, I have been proven wrong about this book. It really is utterly ridiculous. Written for a middle-grade audience (ages 8-12), and 30-something childless women it would seem, The Beast and the Bethany is a hoot.
I can’t pinpoint my favourite thing about the book but the humour, sarcasm, sass, wonder, bewilderment, wonderfully weird characters and equally bizarre foods all come together to give us a rip-roaring story.
And yes – it deserves to be compared to Roald Dahl and to be included in every Christmas stocking this year.
The Beast and the Bethany is published on 1st October 2020.
With thanks to The Write Reads and the publisher Egmont both for providing me with an advance review copy of the book and also for having me on this blog tour.
This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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. Isabelle lives in Zurich, Switzerland.