The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo (9781536213614)
A master children’s book author takes readers on a journey to medieval times in her new middle-grade novel. Answelica, the goat, has long terrorized the monastery, butting everyone she can and biting them too. So when Brother Edik finds a young girl asleep and feverish next to Answelica, he is alarmed for her safety. As the girl cared for and recovers, the danger mounts. Beatryce doesn’t have any memory of her previous life, but it is clear that she is being sought by the king’s guards for some reason. The monastery sends her away, leaving Brother Edik to return to his solitary work illuminating manuscripts. Beatryce must face the unknown as she journeys disguised as a small monk, her head full of stories. Soon she has others who follow her, including Answelica the evil goat, a boy who longs to be able to read, and a man who had once been king. Perhaps Beatryce is as dangerous as the current king fears after all.
Two-time Newbery Medalist DiCamillo once again provides a unique and compelling book for young readers. Here readers are taken on a medieval journey that doesn’t shy away from the darkness of the time, the bloodthirsty nature of kings, and the way that the lower classes are kept subservient. DiCamillo gives space for her characters, young and old, to make critical decisions and move the story forward. Full of humor to offset the darkness, terrible swords that return old memories, and one ornery goat, this novel is amazing for what it packs into its small number of pages.
The illustrations by Blackall are pay homage to illuminated manuscripts of the time period. With several large format illustrations, Blackall captures the seminal moments of the story. Readers will also appreciate the small illustrations that adorn the pages.
A must-read novel from a master storyteller that can be shared aloud or read curled up with your favorite goat. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Candlewick.