Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Maurice the Unbeastly

Maurice the Unbeastly

Amy Dixon
Illustrator:  Karl James Mountford 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Sterling Children's Books, 2017   ISBN: 978-1454919537

Maurice is a gentle soul, a very unbeastly beast who has a sweet disposition, a lovely singing voice, and who likes to eat vegetarian (and organic) snacks. Poor Maurice’s parents are not at all happy that their child is not noisy and destructive, and so they enroll him in the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts.

Maurice knows that he is supposed to be “fierce and ugly and gruff,” and not wanting to be a “gargantuan failure,” he sets off for the academy. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that Maurice simply is no good at being a Brutish Beast. His decorous, neat, vegetarian, light-footed, and cheerful ways made him a complete misfit. It would seem that there is no hope for him.

Then a strange and frightening creature arrives at the academy, and the Brutish Beasts find out that their beastly ways are no match for the dreadful invader. Dear me, what a pickle they are in.

This wonderful picture book celebrates the people (and the beasts) who have the courage to be themselves, even when others are pressuring them conform. Being true to who you are can be difficult, and seeing how Maurice copes with his situation will give young readers hope that they too will find a place in the world where they can be happy.