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One Beastly Beast: Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales Hardcover – July 24, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–5—These four gently tongue-in-cheek adventures pit clever youngsters against unusual creatures—pirate rats who steal DVDs, aliens, a mechanical dragon, and a misunderstood sea serpent. Each time, clueless adult authorities ignore or are stymied by the supposed menace, but the hero is able to resolve the situation successfully and nonviolently. There is a strong emphasis on creativity and individual initiative, and a gentle reminder that brains are better than brawn. Black-and-white cartoon illustrations complement the lighthearted tone. The positive message and amusing stories make this a good choice for younger fantasy fans.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Nix, best known as the creator of the Old Kingdom series, beginning with Sabriel (1995), and the Keys to the Kingdom series, which starts with Mister Monday (2003), shows his lighter side in an entertaining collection of four fantasy stories. These include "Blackbread sic} the Pirate," in which a boy on his way to the video store shrinks to pint-size and agrees to join a band of swashbuckling rats, and "Serena and the Sea Serpent," in which a girl volunteers to be sacrificed to a sea serpent and discovers the very different advantages of being a know-it-all and of being a penguin. Divided into chapters and fine for reading aloud, the stories feature bright, level-headed children in situations that call for courage in the face of surprising and even fantastic circumstances. Droll ink drawings with gray washes illustrate these fresh, childlike, and engaging stories. Phelan, Carolyn

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 6
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (July 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060843195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060843199
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,705,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Garth Nix has worked as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant and literary agent. He also spent five years as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 40 languages. Garth's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on July 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Fantasy writer Garth Nix has created a short story collection for the younger set. Exploring the underworld of rat pirates; adoptions of Earthlings by odd, tentacled aliens; a princess literally searching the belly of the beast; and a brainiac solving the dilemmas of a kindhearted sea serpent, Nix introduces young readers to the possibilities of the imagination between the covers of a book.

ONE BEASTLY BEAST is an excellent choice for the reluctant reader. The full manuscript is around 120 pages, which can make a RR groan. However, each story is only about a quarter of the book, so readers can actually finish a single storyline very quickly. Additionally, illustrator Brian Biggs provides a number of illustrations to kick-start the imaginations of readers who might need a little extra motivation to continue to the end.

Possibly the strongest point regarding the construction of this book, however, is that even though it is a collection of four short stories, Nix still divides each story into chapters, thus giving young readers a taste of chapter books, as well as further dividing the reading challenge into smaller bites for the most reluctant of readers.

For those who are looking for something that will motivate a boy to read, this book will do just that, with pirates, rats, inventors, and aliens. Nix doesn't forget about his young female audience, however; they will love the adventure-seeking princess, penguinmaids, and the super-smart Serena, who saves the day with her bravery and willingness to dig deeper and understand the heart of a vegetarian sea serpent.

Overall, this is a book for every young reader; Nix has scored a fantasy winner with ONE BEASTLY BEAST (TWO ALIENS, THREE INVENTORS, FOUR FANTASTIC TALES).

Reviewed by: Mechele R. Dillard
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Garth Nix has displayed a wide array of talents in a number of different YA forms and styles. There's the edgy dystopia of Shade's Children for older teens. The Seventh Tower series is a fine and ripping magical quest and redemption tale. The Keys to the Kingdom established a fascinating parallel universe, and compares favorably to Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" and China Mieville's Un Lun Dun. The Abhorsen trilogy established Nix's bona fides in high fantasy. So, when he turns his hand to middle grade whimsy, you want to take a look.

And guess what? There's not a false step in the bunch. The book is composed of four short stories and each story is divided into manageable chapters that are just right for new readers. Each story features a kid hero/heroine who has spunk, imagination and brains. And, each story has a puckish and sly plot, and is told in an arch, cheery and engaging style that makes every story feel like a light treat.
Who knew that Nix could be so effortlessly funny and charming?

I found this overlooked gem while browsing my local library's ebook holdings and am very surprised that this marvelously entertaining book seems to have drifted off everyone's radar. These are just very satisfying bite sized comedy/adventure/fantasy stories and an excellent find.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer
on 09/20/2007

ONE BEASTLY BEAST: TWO ALIENS, THREE INVENTORS, FOUR FANTASTIC TALES is a collection of four short stories by fantasy author Garth Nix.

In "Blackbread the Pirate," DVDs are stolen from Peter by a gang of pirate rats. Yes, pirate rats! One Captain Erasmus Rattus arrives to take Peter to a magical land in hopes of retrieving the DVDs--they are rentals.

In "The Princess and the Beastly Beast," Princess Chlorinda is bored and somewhat ignored. There is no adventure--until she's forced to dive down the throat of a monstrous beast!

In "Bill the Inventor," a baby boy was found in a banana skin with no clue to his parents' whereabouts, and he was sent to an orphanage. Several years later, he is faced with unusual prospects for adoptive parents. Being the smart boy he is, he uses his inventions to avoid adoption, until...

In "Serena and the Sea Serpent," a freak accident embedded Serena with the contents of fifty-seven encyclopedias. As the town know-it-all, she volunteers to solve a small problem: a huge sea serpent is running amok up and down the coast. She may be small, but she is determined!

These stories are clever and fun, sure to be a hit among children who enjoy a bit of fun and fantasy in the everyday world. Illustrator Brian Biggs brings Nix's tales to life with same hilarious fantasy spirit in which they were written.

For parents who worry that sensitive children may be frightened by the aliens, monsters, and such, I feel this is a good selection for reading together. These stories are presented in a fun, not scary, manner. The beauty of reading it with your child is that you can not only gauge their reaction, you can also talk about it and other things that either worry them or make them feel brave.
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By Mars Violet on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gotta hand it the author, his well-paced, playful stories balance reality with fantasy in a palatable way. For ex., in Beastly Beast he tosses in some humor to get the kids giggling while capturing the relentlessness monotony and gnawing exasperation of a bored child. Those first couple pages amused my kids but also made them squirm in anticipation. When the main character finally finds some action, my daughter and I were relieved it wasn't too far beyond reality. I guess the two of us are less willing to suspend our disbelief and prefer to focus on all things fantastic that can be found in everyday life. More intense kids, like my son, may find the story slightly less appealing.
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