cover image Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: The Big Scare

Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: The Big Scare

Betty Paraskevas. Simon & Schuster, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82489-0

The Ferocious Beast, star of The Ferocious Beast with the Polka-Dot Hide, returns, in a silly bit of fluff that reads suspiciously like a made-for-television episode, perhaps not surprising given that the Beast is set to become a Nickelodeon regular this winter. Here, in what amounts to a group therapy session, he and his pals Maggie and Hamilton Hocks the pig 'fess up to their deepest fears--sea monsters and goblins for Hamilton, ghosts and aliens for Maggie, mice for the Beast himself-- and discover that discussing what frightens them greatly diminishes their fears. ""We did make you feel better and that's what good friends are for,"" says Maggie to the Beast in the end. The pedestrian prose falls short of Betty Paraskevas's previous texts (The Tangerine Bear, for example), and although Michael Paraskevas's color-saturated acrylics give the book a jolt of energy, even their humorous scenarios can't fully jump-start the predictable subject matter and trite scripting. This one is for devoted Beast fans only. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)