written and illustrated by Fiona Roberton
2015 (Kane Miller)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
There are two sides to every story, and then there is the truth - Mark Twain
In Part One, the narrator, a little girl, found a strange little beast hanging from a tree limb. She decided to rescue him, whether he needed it or not. She safely secured him and took him home. He got a bath, fed a bowl of nuts, fitted with a sweater, and walked for good health. Yet the beast was not happy. He spied an open window, shed his sweater, and jumped out the window. The little girl couldn't sleep that night. Would she ever see him again?
In Part Two, the narrators switched places. The forest creature was happily singing and hanging from his favorite tree when he was grabbed by a "terrible beast." He was taken away to the beast's lair where she subjected him to an unneeded cleaning, fitted with ugly clothing and force fed squirrel food. Worst of all, he was displayed for a pack of even wilder beasts who matched her ferocity. Using his mathematical skills, the narrator designed a foolproof plan and ran to freedom. Once deep in the forest, he realized that all was not so bad at the beast's lair. His surprising decision led to another final twist in this tale of two wee beasties.
A Tale of Two Beasts was a hit with my kindergarten book critics. They laughed and enjoyed seeing the story told from two points of view. It's a clever take and can help young students understand that people can (or in this case, living beings) see the same thing differently. I often hear two versions of a tale at lunch or recess. The ending is smart as well. It's not what you expect and young readers always like a humorous twist. With the Common Core emphasis on comparing two texts, how great is it that you can get this in one book?