October 15, 2017


This month at kidlitpicks we're talking about Halloween! And Halloween means scary beasts, ghoulish hijinks, and . . . strange eating habits? At least, that's what you get in Amy Dixon and Karl James Mountford's Maurice the Unbeastly!

Beasts are supposed to do a lot of things. They're supposed to roar, behave badly, and cause general mayhem. But that's never really been Maurice's bag. No, Maurice prefers singing with a melodic voice, eating kale, and acting as politely as possible, no matter how different it makes him feel from everyone else. His parents decide they've had enough, though, and send him to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts so that he will finally learn how to behave like a real beast. But will Maurice conform or ultimately teach everyone else that there's something to be said for being unique?

Based mainly in reds and greens (ie complementary colors), Mountford's illustrations are a force to be reckoned with. He mixed traditional media with digital to create engaging illustrations that are busting at the seams with color, yet muted to stay within the designated color rage (again, red and green). Careful observers can see where Mountford uses his traditional media to blend colors and incorporate textures into the illustrations, both of which hearken back to woodblock prints, which makes the otherwise crowded and chaotic illustrations still feel serene and well-defined.

Maurice the Unbeastly published from Sterling Children's Books in September!

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