Review Blog

Mar 04 2016

A tale of two beasts by Fiona Roberton

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Hachette, 2016. ISBN 9781444916737
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Point of view, Animals, Pets. Prefaced with a quote from Mark Twain ('there are two sides to every story, then there is the truth') this two handed story will be such a treat for younger readers who are the centre of their own existence. This book will encourage them to see that there are two sides to every story, that everyone's version is from their own perspective, that not everyone tells a story which includes someone else's point of view. A tall order, but exceptionally well done in this offering from Fiona Roberton.
A young girl finds an animal in the forest hanging upside down from a branch. Assuming it is in need of help she takes it home, washes it, feeds it, dresses it in a hat and scarf and lays it down in a box with her stuffed toy. She attaches a lead and takes it for a walk, and introduces the animal to her friends. Children reading it will be encouraged by the girl's care and love of the foundling animal and be saddened when it jumps through the window and runs away.
But this is only the first part of the tale.
The second half of the book, shows the opposite side of the coin: the animal tells the tale of being taken by a strange beast who feeds it inappropriate food, dresses it in hot clothing and lies it down when all it wants to do is hang from a tree. It cannot wait to escape and get back to its own environment.
Readers will see a different perspective of the same story, and ponder the different points of view. The book will be enjoyed by a range of children, and is able to be used in the classroom when discussing points of view with a large dose of humour.
Fran Knight

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