Try to Look at it From My Perspective: A Review of ‘A Tale of Two Beasts’

“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” ― C.S. LewisThe Magician’s Nephew

Interest Level: Ages 5 – 9

AR Level: 3.0

Review and Comments:

This is a story about two beasts who describe the same experience in their lives from very different perspectives.

Part 1:  The Strange Beast (The Girl’s Point of View)

A young girl explains that while walking through the woods one day she discovers a strange little forest creature, a beast, hanging upside down in a tree. She rescues him and promptly gives him an appropriate beastie name. She begins taking care of Fang by wrapping him up and taking him home.  She gives him all the care she feels a beast needs to stay healthy. Fang, however, is not happy and escapes back to the woods at the first opportunity.  The girl misses him but her plan to search for him is thwarted by her mother and a set bedtime.  Very unexpectedly the beast quietly returns to the girl’s room after dark. When she sees him she decides that maybe Fang is not so strange after all.

Part 2:  The Terrible Beast (The Beast’s Point of View)

The forest beast begins by reporting that he is just hanging out in his favorite tree when he is seized by a terrible beast that ties him up and takes him out of the forest. He is not treated the way a respectable forest beastie should be treated so he escapes back to the safety of the dark woods where it is peaceful.  It does not take long before Fang realizes the woods are a bit too peaceful and a bit more uncomfortable then he remembers.  He resolves to go back and reclaim the warm hat that he wore while in captivity.  The beast is waiting for him, and she seems happy to see him.  Fang concludes that maybe the beast is not that terrible after all.

Fiona Roberton does a wonderful job telling the same story from different points of view.  The girl’s story is straightforward.  She finds an animal and cares for it to the best of her enthusiastic ability. Fang’s story is humorous because from his viewpoint everything is more dramatic.  A beast ambushed him, she took him to her secret lair, and his escape was a cunning plan. The reader will enjoy Fang’s sometimes melodramatic interpretation of his situation.

The descriptive vocabulary used throughout the book really enhances the story and is very appropriate for the suggested reading level.  This is also a good read aloud book for young children. The pictures add another layer that will help young readers better understand the beasts’ efforts and impressions.

Possible Concerns:

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Discussion:

  • Role Play the beasts’ stories.
  • Make a stick puppet for each character. Put the puppets in order of appearance in the story.  Retell the story by using the puppets.
  • Understanding the vocabulary used in this book will improve comprehension and writing skills. Words such as; spied, fit, ambushed, lair, disgustingly, cunning, retrieve, and under cover should be defined before reading.
    • Pronounce each word correctly.
    • Act out each word.
    • After learning the definition, brainstorm familiar words associated with each vocabulary word. [Example: lair – den, resting place, wild animal]
    • Draw a simple image of each word on individual cards. Print the vocabulary words on separate cards, one word on each. Match the pictures to the words.  Use these cards as reference while reading.
      • If the child is very young, a parent can draw or find simple pictures to illustrate each word.
    • Compare the points of view of the two beasts. Divide a paper in half vertically.  Label one column “Girl Beast” and the other “Forest Beast”.  List the perceptions of each beast’s story.  [Example: stuck in a tree/hanging from a tree, rescued/ambushed, wrapped him warmly/tied me up]

  • Another book that uses differing viewpoints is Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal [ages 4-8].


Catholic Resources:

    • The United States Conference of Bishops website has many instructive articles from a Catholic perspective. The articles include topics such as:  religious liberty, faithful citizenship, marriage and family, cultural diversity, human life and dignity, and child and youth protection.