When you think of a beast, what do you imagine? Probably some ugly creature who roars and stomps around, creating havoc wherever he goes. Maurice could not be further from that image if he tried. Maurice instead is gentle and kind. Sings beautifully and looks incredibly photogenic in pictures. He’s also a big fan of organic snacks.
Maurice’s parents are worried that he needs to learn to be less civilised and so enrol him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts where they try to teach him to behave improperly. Will they succeed though? Or will they see that being different can be a good thing? A useful skillset to have?
Maurice the Unbeastly follows Maurice’s journey to the Abominable Academy (try saying that out loud!) and we see how he gets on with hilarious results. Both Master C and LMC absolutely loved this book, but I have to admit that reading it out loud was a tad challenging at times. Not only do I always stumble over the word abominable, but throw in there three uses of the word gargantuan and mentions of alfalfa and it’s hard going at points. I didn’t even know what alfalfa was until I read this book. And it seems neither did my kids. I had to go and quiz one of my vegetarian friends who reliably informs me it is a type of sprout! It’s certainly very different from a story in which the characters eat chicken nuggets and chips.
Regardless of how middle-class Maurice is, the kids still really enjoyed the story. Master C getting particularly excited when Maurice started a campaign to get kale on the menu at the Abdominal Academy. It seems going round the flat shouting “Raise your tail for kale” is quite an exciting thing when you’re five.
What is clear though is that Maurice the Unbeastly is a beautifully illustrated book. Karl James Mountford has done a wonderful job and the colour palate that he has used gives the pictures a lovely warmth. They perfectly accompany a lovely (if very middle class) story about the value of being true to yourself rather than being the person others want you to be. A valuable message whatever your age or stage in life.
Maurice the Unbeastly is published by Sterling Children’s Books and published in October 2017, priced at £12.99. You an buy it online here.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Maurice the Unbeastly for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.