One Beastly Beast : Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales
by Nix, Garth; Biggs, Brian (ILT)

A collection of four fantasy tales in which a boy joins a strange navy in pursuit of video pirates, a neglected princess seeks adventure, an orphaned inventor seeks the perfect parents, and a genius girl faces a sea serpent.

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. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

These four lighthearted fantasy and science-fiction tales feature heroic children in extremely silly adventures. In "Blackbread the Pirate," Peter needs to rescue his rented DVDs from video pirates. Straightforward enough-but the video pirates are cutlass-wielding rats aboard the pirate ship Nasty Cupboard, and Peter defeats them with the help of a valiant rat navy and a massive wheel of stinky cheese. Princess Rinda, of "The Princess and the Beastly Beast," goes looking for adventure and finds it in the form of a clockwork monster. "Bill the Inventor" is an orphan boy who was found wrapped in a big banana skin and who deftly avoids getting adopted by all the wrong sorts of parents, the kind who aren't inventors: pirates, a witch and a wizard, space aliens. And brilliant Serena of "Serena and the Sea Serpent" turns into a "penguinmaid" in her quest to rescue the people of Blubber Point from a sea serpent. Thoroughly ridiculous and hugely enjoyable. (Fantasy. 8-10) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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