cover image The Beatryce Prophecy

The Beatryce Prophecy

Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Sophie Blackall. Candlewick, $19.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1361-4

Set “during a time of war” when “terrible things happen everywhere,” Newbery Medalist DiCamillo’s engrossing medieval fable verges on darkness while examining what changes a world. When gentle Brother Edik finds young Beatryce in the monastery barn, she is covered in blood and dirt, plagued by fever, and holding the ear of the ferocious goat Answelica—who has until now terrorized the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing with her bites and butts. Upon emerging from her sickness, Beatryce recalls only her name and her ability to read and write, the latter a dangerous secret in a land where only a few people, solely men, are permitted those skills. Fearful of who might be searching for such a child—and of her possible connection to the prophecy of “a girl child who will unseat a king”—the monastery’s brethren rid themselves of girl and goat, sending Beatryce away with protector Answelica. In the often-harrowing world, Beatryce encounters idiosyncratic individuals she can trust, each with a painful history that’s rendered humanely in DiCamillo’s deliberate third-person telling (characters default to white). Tenderly illuminated by Caldecott Medalist Blackall’s atmospheric, fine-lined b&w art, this compassionate tale rejoices in “the wonder of being known,” the protective powers of understanding one’s identity, and the strength found in the hard head of a beloved goat. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. Illustrator’s agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker. (Sept.)