The Saga of Moby Beast

by Norrie Charles
illustrated by Angel dela Peña

""I hid in the bin That I keep the flour in, And watched as my stock went to slaughter, But alas and alack—I've got to go back—For the beast has taken my daughter "

As a small village goes about its daily business, a beast awakens. It's Moby Beast, the monster of the swamp! When the beast roars through town and steals a young maiden (as beasts are wont to do), the village is thrown into a panic. Only one man can save the girl and the village: the brave Sir Robert, whose tales of adventure and heroic feats are known across the land. But even Sir Robert may be no match for the swamp monster, especially since he hides a secret that might just cost him the battle.

The Saga of Moby Beast is a wonderful fantasy-adventure tale of knights in shining armor and terrible monsters. The presentation is beautiful: old-style font is printed on paper designed to look like yellowing parchment, and colorful illustrations bring the story to life. Sir Robert's tale is told in a lyrical rhyme that never falters. The author mixes in some archaic words for a more authentic sound (and a fantastic flow), and even throws in a couple of made-up words from the master of gibberish, Lewis Carroll. These, along with some of the more challenging words, are defined at the back of the book. Younger children will enjoy the lilting cadence and rhymes, while older kids will appreciate the adventure story.

This wonderful children's book is a good entry text for introducing kids to classic sagas like Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf as well as legends about knights in the Arthurian stories. It teaches the traditional meaning of bravery, touches on the consequences of bragging, believing everything you hear, and explains why sometimes tall tales are necessary. This will certainly become a beloved classic, a favorite of imaginative children who will ask to have it read to them over and over.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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