Friday, January 10, 2020

Review - Bo the Brave

Bo the Brave
by Bethan Woollvin
Date: 2020
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A feisty little girl learns who the real monsters are in this brilliantly funny medieval adventure.

Once, there lived a little girl called Bo. Bo wanted to be just like her brothers and capture a fearsome monster. Bo is small, too small to catch a monster--or so her brothers say. But Bo isn't one to take no for an answer, so she sets off on a quest to catch a monster of her own. Can she defeat the furious griffin, conquer the hideous kraken, and triumph over the monstrous dragon? Or has Bo got the wrong idea who the real monsters are?

Author-illustrator Bethan Woollvin, the creator of the New York Times Best Illustrated Little Red, employs her signature style in this original fairy tale with a clever twist. Readers are sure to fall in love with Woollvin's newest vibrant and sassy protagonist.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

While this book definitely has a distinctive look with its unusual colour palette, I was less than impressed by the story, which is basically just a little girl learning that you shouldn't judge people (or creatures) based on their appearance. The title implies that the theme is bravery, but it's actually more about acceptance.

Bo wants to go hunting monsters with her older brothers. But they tell her she's too small. So she goes to hunt some on her own. But each time she finds what she thinks is a monster, her mind is changed when she starts to interact with the creature. When she encounters a sad dragon, she learns that its baby is missing. Bo and her new friends rescue the baby dragon from its captors (I'm sure you can guess who they are) and everyone agrees not to go monster hunting anymore.

The writing is just okay. A character sneered his speech right at the beginning (argh!) but other than that, it wasn't terrible. I liked Bo's refrain of, "Get ready to be got!"

Whether you like the illustrations will be a matter of taste. I don't personally care for the style here, but the pictures are colourful (in a palette of black, white, grey, magenta, orange, and teal) and will probably appeal to some readers. There are some cute details throughout the book (including in the maps at the beginning and end).

Overall, this isn't bad, but I don't know if it's a book that I'd be rushing to read again. Kids who like stories about questing and magical creatures are probably the audience for this.

Thank you to NetGalley and Peachtree Publishing Company for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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