First-time author-illustrator Fort imagines a land "Beyond the high seas,/ A-way to the east," populated by hybrid creatures called Bewilderbeests. In rhyming verse, she introduces 13 such animals one by one; "Jabberwocky"-style portmanteaus are many (the "snaggle-toofed bandersnoot" can't help but recall Carroll's "frumious bandersnatch") as are wordplay- and pun-driven creations like the "early-morning meadowsnark," a "mountain gloat," and the "red and ruffled liddigator," whose names all give clear clues as to their personalities. (Regarding the meadowsnark, Fort advises, "First thing in the morning/ She's sarcastic, rude, and bossy./ Approach instead at noon or night,/ For then, she's merely saucy.") Set against marbled skies, Fort's portraits of the animals resemble layered digital collages, the creatures reflecting a wide range of personalities and temperaments. [There's] plenty of amusement to be found in these pages. Ages 3–8.  




Synopsis: In the East, over the high seas, lays a land you've never seen before. It hosts marvelous creatures that normally only exist in your imagination. Discover wild beasts that make you laugh, like the Two-Headed Mugwump, and others that you just think are cool, like the Millipus. Journey to the bewundering world of the bewilderbeests in this picture book!

What I Thought: This was a creative book. Ms. Fort has made a nice picture book. The creatures are whimsical and the illustrations are bright and marvelous. Kids will really like them. They capture the spirit of the book. The book is available as an ebook and the illustrations come out pretty well digitally. The repetitive rhymes in the poems are fun to read. They get your imagination going.

I give this four out of five bookworms.

  Meet quirky creatures and galloping rhymes and rhythms in this well-illustrated children's book.
Illustrations: Top notch illustrations. They are colorful and the animals' expressions and oddness contribute to the book.
Storyline: This isn't a story-line type of book. It's like Shel Silverstein's writings—unique creatures and fun word-play poems about the "bewilderbeests." This book is enjoyable to read aloud and I highly recommend it.

Bailey Fort's The Bewundering World of Bewilderbeests is a delightful picture book for children of all ages.

Welcome to the bewundering world of the Bewilderbeests. Meet some who are silly, scary, and even hairy. The Millipus with her million arms who's a little bit mischievous, the Two-Headed Mugwump who appears to argue with itself, the Wide-Eyed Oggle who so rudely stares, the cranky Jagumar and Early-Morning Meadowsnark, the sad Mountain Gloat, and the Red Ruffled Liddigator who always wants a fight are just a few of the crazy creatures you'll meet in the bewundering world of the Bewilderbeests.

I scooped this picture book up, because I'm always looking for books to use in my storytimes as a librarian. For the purpose of this review, I'm going to look at it more as a potential read aloud for parents, since this is what I see it most being used for.

This picture book has a lot going for it. The way the author used words was my favorite part. First, you not only read the words like "wiggle and waggle," but you also saw the words appear to wiggle and waggle. This helped to create a mental image of the creature moving. The rhyming sentences were rhythmic, catchy, and repetitive. In terms of preschool development, this is not only a fun part of the book, but is also important for helping kids to develop a sense of how different letters, words, and phonemes work together, but can work well together (phonemic and phonological awareness). Although the kids probably won't get the underlying meaning of how some of the characters resembled certain personalities or actions someone doesn't want to be or do (like the snarky Meadowsnark or the gloating Mountain Gloat), I don't think it will deter them from loving the story. Like they would a Dr. Seuss book, they'll get a kick out of the narrator's encounters with the Bewilderbeests.

The illustrations are creative and well done. The color and detail on each creature is unique and complements the text. On some of the creatures, where they're supposed to appear more hidden, it even takes a while to find them. The mix of pastel and earth tones works well for creating a new world of unusual creatures.

I also think this book has the potential to delight and entertain other ages. As children age, they'll begin to get some of the deeper meanings of the text and pictures as well as see more of the humor throughout the book.

Overall, I'd give this book 4 out of 4 stars. It was an enjoyable read that is well done and has the potential to be a fun read aloud. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a fun picture book to share with their family, especially if they are Dr. Seuss fans.


"The Bewundering World of Bewilderbeests" (wow try saying that three times) is a fun children's book reminiscent of books by Dr. Seuss, and the rhymes flow very much like them as well. The art is amazing—colorful and creative. It is a very whimsical and visual book, so much so that it is taken a step further by transforming even the text into a work of art. The text is stylized and the placement on the page is composed in a way to play with the readers—leading their eyes all over the page.

While the book inspires much creativity with the words it is also very educational. Bailey Fort does not hold back when it comes to describing her imaginary creatures and the adjectives she uses can very well aid in enhancing a child's vocabulary. Within the pages are also little lessons for a child such as "staring being rude." Each creature has a set of their own personality traits, introducing various personality types that can be encountered in the real world.

For a child's book it is the complete package. It captures the reader's attention from the beginning to end. It is a book that leaves one feeling happy and satisfied. More importantly, it is a book that inspires a passion for reading.

5/5 stars



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