Review Blog

Sep 18 2008

One beastly beast by Garth Nix

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2008.
(Ages 9+) Subtitled, Two aliens, three inventors, four fantastic tales, this book of short fantasy tales will intrigue and delight the avid Garth Nix/fantasy reader. Nix has always had a different view of the world, and his fantasy writing is amongst the best. For older readers, The Old Kingdom series is magnificent, and for middle school readers, The Keys to the Kingdom is just riveting. This book is for middle primary students and takes an askance look at some things we take as written.

The first story, Blackbread the pirate, takes the term video piracy literally, as a boy, Peter, on his way to return his family's DVDs to the video shop, is raided by pirates, Video pirates! The rats steal his videos and scurry down the sewers, followed by the Navy rats, resplendent in their blue and gold uniforms. When they ask Peter to join them, he cannot, being somewhat too large, but an Alice in Wonderland moment occurs, and Peter is transformed to the size of a rat.
This funny story is followed by The Princess and the Beastly Beast, Bill the Inventor and Serena and the Sea Serpent. All great fun and sure to please the middle to upper primary student, with illustrations by Sholto Walker.
Fran Knight

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