Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for evaluation. All opinions are my own.
“Jo!” I called out, “Want to read a new book?”
I was at the dining room table sifting through the mail when an anticipated parcel appeared amid the bills and coupons, floating to the top of the pile as if it were boiling up in a cauldron.
“Yes dad!” returns a voice from somewhere in the house.
Suddenly she’s in front of me.
“What book, dad?”
“This new book I got in the mail,” I said, showing her the package, on the front of which, a spiky haired silhouette jabbed a skinny finger into an apparent sunrise.
“What is it about?”
“A beast and a little girl. Does that sound exciting?”
“Yes! Lets go read it!”
We settle onto the couch and I touch the cover of the book, an unassuming title on the front of it’s suede feeling card stock exterior. Clair and the Beast by Joel Bernard. I think have some idea as to the content. It sounds like a play on Beauty and the Beast, but the synopsis tells me the story is anything but similar.
I open the cover.
“STICKERS!” cries Jo. “There are stickers!”
A strip of stickers had fallen into my lap. A nice little touch in addition to the hand wrapped book contained within the shipping envelope. Joel really put a lot of effort into this first run. Everything so far has enticed the girl more and more.
We started reading.
“The fall leaves twirled, the cool breeze blew. A sad old man simmered his stew.”
“Dad, why is the old man sad?”
“Let’s keep reading and find out.”
She’s infatuated with the images. She points out the colors as we see them. They are simple images, but I think she gets what they mean. I do my best ‘scary’ voice for the beast. Jo giggles. She likes my scary voice. We rhyme along through the simple verses, and we meet Claire.
“Hey that looks like me!”
“Maybe she is?”
“I don’t like the monster.”
“Maybe he’s just sad because he wants a friend. Maybe the little girl will be his friend?”
We read on. The story ends happily. I find the story very cute. Jo likes how the little girl was nice to the beast. We read it three more times. The scary voice makes my throat itch, but she’s having a blast.
We keep reading.
Clair and the Beast is a simple rhyming children’s picture book about a sad old man who becomes a beast and through the friendship of a little girl doesn’t become quiet so scary. It’s a great first effort by author Joel Bernard and an excellent read for those cold, drizzly nights. You can pick it up on Amazon here.