Perfect Picture Book Friday – Maurice The Unbeastly


Right now this very second while you are reading this, I am winging my way to the Lone Star State for the North Texas SCBWI Conference!

Sing with me!
“The stars at night
are shining bright
deep in the heart of Texas!”

Okay.  I confess that’s all I know.  But I am very excited!  I have only been to Texas once before and that was a drive-thru on a family cross-country trip when I was 12.  My only memory of Texas is of being forced to eat Velveeta sandwiches on white bread whilst we drove.  Yuck!  Seriously, whose idea was THAT?!  So I’m hoping it’s going to be a lot more fun this time… if I survive my presentation… which I have been nailbiting over for weeks already!  If you hear a jackhammering sound, that’s just my teeth chattering with nerves! 🙂


I’m thrilled beyond measure to be sharing this fabulous book today, written by the very talented Amy Dixon.  Such fun!  I love it!  I hope you love it 🙂


Title: Maurice The Unbeastly

Written By: Amy Dixon

Illustrated By: Karl James Mountford

Sterling Children’s Books, September 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: individuality, being true to yourself, monsters, humor

Opening: “Maurice was not like the other beasts.  His voice was as sweet and refreshing as dandelion lemonade on a hot day.

Brief Synopsis: Maurice the beast is a misfit, about as un-beastly as they come.  His worried parents enroll him in the Abominable Academy For Brutish Beasts, hoping to help their son be more like he should.  But Maurice is just different… and maybe that’s not a bad thing!

Links To Resources: make a collage of pictures that represents who you are; make a list of at least 5 words that describe you; draw a picture of yourself doing something you love to do; write a poem about someone who makes you feel valued; draw a picture of the animal you feel is most like you and make a list of at least 5 words that explain why you are like that animal (e.g. brave, pretty, strong, fast, etc..)

Why I Like This Book: Maurice is delightful!  He is so gloriously and humorously un-beastly, with his melodious voice like “dandelion lemonade on a hot day”, his love for organic kale, and his smile which makes him “ridiculously photogenic”.  And when it comes to “messy meat eating” he asks for “the vegetarian option” 🙂  You’ve got to love a character who is so much himself in spite of how different he is from his peers.  And this is a message so many kids can benefit from, because we should all be true to ourselves.  The art is perfect for the story in shades of muted rust, green, and black with touches of red and white, and includes fun details like the Academy sign with the slogan “Hear us roar.  Hit the floor.  We’re the mighty carnivore!”, and Maurice pictured with birds and flowers.  A humorous, entertaining but also sweet read!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

And please wish me luck in Texas!!!!!!!

20 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Maurice The Unbeastly

  1. kathalsey says:

    Love, love this book, Vivian. I just got it at my library an din the OH SCBWI conference intensive, it was shared by the editor worked on it. You will slay the preso. Wish I was there to cheer you on. Hugs, K

  2. viviankirkfield says:

    We need books with humor these days…and so do kids. Great choice,Susanna…and I love the suggested activities. It’s funny, because I picked Josh Funk’s It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk for today’s PPBF…also about being true to yourself. 😉 Happy Fall, dear Susanna!

  3. ptnozell says:

    Love the humorous take on such an important theme: to be true to yourself. Can’t wait to read this! Safe travels, enjoy presenting & may the conference food be better than the Velveeta sandwiches of your youth!

  4. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    Oh MAURICE! You are at the top of my TBR pile, which is teetering rather precariously.

    Good luck in TX Susanna! My 4th grade teacher was a TX native, which was unusual in rural MA at the time. She made us sing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” every day after we said the Pledge of Allegiance. True!!

  5. Patricia Tilton says:

    I love the language in this book and the humor. The cover and illustrations look gorgeous. Congratulations Amy for another winner!

    Good luck with your presentation, Susanna. I’m sure you’ll have a great visit! Just eat something different. You’ve already created a new memory of Texas with your visit. Have fun!

  6. Amy Dixon says:

    Susanna! Thanks so much for sharing this book with the PPBF crowd! I hope your time in Texas is amazing, and I know your presentation will be helpful for so many writers. Yee-haw!

  7. Beth Stilborn says:

    This book sounds great! And yay you, doing a presentation — you will be great. I’m trying (in vain) to remember more of the words to Deep in the Heart of Texas, but I’ve got the stomping down pat.

    I was nearly finished my post about the delightful new-to-me book I wanted to share when I discovered that Keila had shared it before me, but I decided to add mine to the pile anyway. Anywhere Farm can be an AnytimeTwice Farm. (It’s nice to be back, by the way. And I hope my addition “took.”)

  8. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Good luck in Texas! I haven’t visited there in a lonnnnnnnnnng time.

    Staying true to yourself. I love your description of this book, and I love the illustrations! I also think the activities you’ve suggested are great for kids to do. Who am I kidding? They would be great for adults who need a little bit more self-knowledge.

    The book I selected this week is also about being true to yourself in a different way. Must be in the air!

    Wishing you happy times at the SCBWI North Texas Conference!

  9. heylookawriterfellow says:

    Sweet Lord, why would anyone wanna go to Texas?

    But, man, am I intrigued by your review. My very first thought was, “I loooove that cover illustration.” My next thought was, “I loooove that opening line.” And then I thought, “I loooove that synopsis.”

    And if I ignore the fact that Maurice eats kale, this picture book *does* sound perfect.

    Long story short, it looks like I’m gonna have to buy this for somebody.

  10. Pam Miller says:

    Thanks Susanna, and have a grand time in Texas.

    I love the rhyme “Hear us roar.  Hit the floor.  We’re the mighty carnivore!”. Kids are so savvy today. They’ll know this word “carnivore.” And that’s my top reason for putting MAURICE THE UNBEASTLY on my list, too.

    Perhaps the allergic boy in our family (dairy and egg) will relate to Maurice and have a better sense of humor about being different.

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