cover image Meet the Beast

Meet the Beast

Nate Evans and Vince Evans, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $4.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-4022-4050-8

This kickoff volume of the Beast Friends Forever series is a screwball comedy from brothers Nate and Vince Evans (the Humpty Dumpty Jr., Hardboiled Detective books). When Zeke and Hannah's father, who's stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Bermuda Triangle, sends them a box filled with candy, it arrives empty. A shadowy shape lurking behind the kids presages their discovery of an impish beast that has stowed away. An escapee from an island that's been commandeered by trolls, Otto takes up residence under Zeke's bed and wows the siblings with his "tricksy tricks," which include transforming objects into fantastical creatures, one of which helps Otto best the school bully. Most of the story is written as a heavily illustrated chapter book, though it jumps into graphic novel format when the action escalates; the hyperbolic line art helps move the story along briskly. Adding to the inanity is ample potty talk and insult-hurling ("booger-brain" is oft-used), and Otto's lingo—a combination of pirate-speak and nonsense (he calls the marauding trolls "slimy pickle-noses" and "hairy skunk-sniffers")—should bring on giggles. Ages 7–10. (Oct.)