Cover Image: Kenny & the Book of Beasts

Kenny & the Book of Beasts

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Member Reviews

A joyous sequel but could stand alone. Enchanting forest creatures and a friendly dragon partake in an unexpected adventure while visiting the king. Poetry is something celebrated throughout the book as is  the thread that even mythical monsters may not truly be harmful but only perceived as such by the humans who hunt and mistreat them. The reader will wonder just who is the monster in the tales of long ago. "Friend or monster, each of us has to decide who we're going to be." Graham the friendly dragon bemoans that he is the last of his kind. But perhaps he is not, according to a mysterious expert author who happens on the scene. Unfortunately she is not what she first appears to be.  We learn her power is drawn from the magical creatures she has captured throughout the years.. Now she means to cause more harm and Kenny the Rabbit suddenly finds himself in the path of her wrath as he tries to rescue the friend he disappointed.  This book is full of anthropomorphic animals who go about their daily lives much like those of the days of villagers of Camelot; much like Redwall without the battles but including the fine foods and feasting.  The rabbit family interaction is especially touching.  The different animals keeping true to their nature (possum playing dead, e.g.) is a bonus. The illustrations are simple and heart-warming. They show that Kenny's friends are varied indeed yet their friendship stands true.
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Title: Kenny and the Book of Beasts

Author & Illustrator: Tony Diterlizzi


Pages: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Date: September 2020 


Related: Kenny and the Dragon


I think the hardest thing about writing book reviews is that there are times when a book simply does not capture and hold the reader's (in this case a reviewer) attention. Then the person who is reviewing the book has to write that the book simply did not capture and hold his or her attention. And it gets all awkward because the reviewer knows that the author worked hard, put blood and sweat and imagination into the work, and that a publisher will read the review and someone will invariably say, 'Yeah, well, you're just writing reviews; what do you know?' 

And then the reviewer, in one last desperate gasp after hitting the publish button on their free wordpress blog says, 'Oh man! What if they never let me review a book again because the one I just reviewed simply didn't capture and hold my attention and I gave it 2 stars instead of, say, 4?'

You can see my dilemma. And here we are. I'll note a couple of caveats.

First, this book is a sequel to Kenny and the Dragon which is a book I have not read. Perhaps if I had the Kenny and the Dragon story in the back of my mind, it would have changed my perceptions of this story. 

Second, I am not saying that Kenny and the Book of Beasts is a bad story. I am simply saying that it did not capture and hold my attention. So, again, this could be because I was reading an ARC and the formatting was funny (because publishers want to protect their material) or because I hadn't read Kenny and the Dragon. Or it could be that it simply wasn't very well constructed story during the first fourth of the book.

I tried to get into the book, but after about a fourth of the story, it was simply not going to happen. And I hate to say that about a kids book because I love kids books--I have stacks of them in my library. But this one just didn't capture and hold my attention. And that is, to say the least, unfortunate. This will not be everyone's perspective. 

Oh, one more thing--I did like the drawings. I note in every review I write (for kids stories) the artwork. It usually provides some redeeming value to the story, and this is true for Kenny and the Book of Beasts. I don't know if the pencil drawings are the final product or not, but I like them a lot. They are whimsical and enjoyable. 

So now we come to that part of the review where I have to say 'yes' or 'no'. Usually books are easily definable for me which is why I say 'yes' or 'no.' This time, however, I need to be fair to the author and the publisher so I'll say 'maybe'. 

Maybe someday I'll read the first book and then the second book.

Maybe I'll read physical copies instead of ARCs which have strange formatting.

Maybe then the book will capture and hold my attention. 

Maybe then I'll fully endorse the book with a resounding 'Yes!'

Until then it's just a maybe. Because a book should capture and hold my attention from the first page. 

And this one didn't. 

3/5 Stars (should be 2, but +1 for the art)

I was provided with a free advance reader's copy (ARC) via NetGalley in exchanged for my fair and unbiased review. This I have done. I do not get to keep the book and, in fact, I have already deleted it from my Kindle reader. No other considerations were made.
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My son (elementary aged) read Kenny an the Dragon as part of the One School, One Book program last year. We both loved it. Over the moon when we found out that a sequel was being released and even more excited to get the advanced copy. We devoured it in a matter of days, pretty impressive for a mother reading to a 4 year old and 7 year old. We just couldn't get enough of Kenny and Graham. I will definitely be posting on the school message boards recommending this to everyone else that loved the first book.
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In this sequel to Kenny and the Dragon, we catch up with our friends Kenny Rabbit and Grahame the dragon to see where life has taken them. Kenny has a dozen new sisters, and Charlotte has started at another school, Kenny starts to realize that all of his friends are leaving him and no longer have time for him. When Kenny and Grahame visit the king, Grahame discovers a long lost friend, and this make things worse for Kenny. Kenny must go on a journey to free his friends as well as make the decision on what matters most in life, it is about saying goodbye but also getting to say hello again. 

I was so excited to see there was a sequel to Kenny and the Dragon, the first book in the series based on the story The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame. This story is a new adventure and takes us on the journey of finding our own niche and what makes us happy, along with making new friends along the way and righting old wrongs. If you have not read the first book, I believe you could still read this one and enjoy it alone, but the first book does have a lot to do with this one. Toni Diterlizzi takes us on such a fun adventure with both titles, once you start reading you wont be able to put them down. 

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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If you loved the first installment of Kenny & the Dragon, then you are in for a real treat with this sequel. Kenny and Grahame are back, but their friendship will be put to the test. This lighthearted and fun story takes a look at what it means to be a good friend and what it means to be kind. It also contains fun new characters and twists, with a healthy dose of magic. Kenny's many sisters add to the comedy and he seems a little older than he did in the first book. A delightful addition that would be perfect to read aloud to younger primary students or for ages 8 and up to read independently if they are ready to do so.
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A good sequel to Kenny and the Dragon. OK as a stand alone. Kenny is dealing with complications in his friendships and feeling ignored. Then there are his passel of little sisters. The arrival of a witch and her mysterious book start a sequence of actions for Kenny to be a true friend. This would be a good read aloud for younger grades.
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This long-awaited sequel to Kenny and the Dragon finds Kenny and his dragon friend, Grahame on a quest to find the truth about the mythical beasts that formerly co-existed with each other. Unicorns, hippogriffs, manticores, and more have all but disappeared. Is  Grahame the last of his kind? When an evil witch offers to "help" Kenny in his quest, will Kenny put his trust in the wrong person? This tale offers valuable lessons in friendship, compassion, and appreciating what you have. Any library which has Kenny and the Dragon in its collection will want to add this appealing middle-grade title as well.
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Kenny & the Book of Beasts is a sequel to Tony DiTerlizzi’s Kenny & the Dragon. I didn’t read that first chapter book, but from the references in the sequel, it appears to be a retelling of Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon. The inclusion of main character Kenny, an erudite dragon named Grahame and a knight named Sir George definitely serves as an homage. However, Kenny & the Book of Beasts works well as a stand-alone. I adored DiTerlizzi’s The Spiderwick Chronicles, which he co-authored with Holly Black. And I adored this book, too.

I dare not tell too much about young Kenny Rabbit and his best friend Grahame the dragon. (I think the blurb on the book reveals too much.) Let’s just say that Kenny resents the many changes he sees going on about him: his literally dozen baby sisters, bidding goodbye to his friend Sir George, and quite a bit more. Let’s just say that the introduction of The Book of Beasts proves a change too many.

Caldecott winner DiTerlizzi’s gorgeous illustrations rival the prose in insight and charm. Adults will love this gem as much as children. Highly, highly recommended.
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