Mama and Papa are worried. Maurice is a Beast. He should roar (not sing) and be messy (not neat and tidy). He didn't want his parents to see him as a failure, so he packed his back and headed to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts. Other beasts were becoming more beastly, but Maurice wasn't progressing (at least according to the notes Headmaster sent to his parents). Then one day, a creature came into their classroom. For everything the other beasts tried, the creature met them skill-for-skill. Now it was Maurice's turn to try to capture the creature. What could he do that would work?
First, Maurice is one adorable monster. He is beastly enough but cute enough that kids will connect with him. The wordplay is great and the antics of the beasts will hit all the funny bones. The "creature" is instantly recognizable and will have kids laughing, as well.
Maurice the Unbeastly would have been an instant hit in our house, and even now, I have read it (to myself) several times. There are lessons for parents and kiddos alike. Young readers might not be able to label "guilt," but that is exactly what Maurice explains when he says she doesn't want to disappoint his family. Perfect opportunity to talk about how much you love your kids just the way they are - and extend the life of this book to middle schoolers!
Humor, wordplay, and an adorable vegetarian beast give readers a wonderful story and life lessons, too.
This picture book story is about not just being yourself, but staying true to yourself.
It is easy to focus on "be yourself," as the main lesson, but this is also a story about being true to yourself. Maurice didn't try to become like the other Beasts. He tried to apply his talents to the task/class at hand.
There are some unusual and wonderful words that can be fun to explore with younger readers: gargantuan, photogenic, organic, gruff, melodious, confiscate, among others. These are words that heard in context will be easy for kids to define. Give them that chance!! It builds vocabulary.
9 and Up
4 and Up
Buy! This is great for young kids, but will also be a perfect gift for preteens who are struggling to figure out who they are and how they fit in!