Review of Bo the Brave

Bo the Brave
by Bethan Woollvin; illus. by the author
Primary    Peachtree    32 pp.    g
4/20    978-1-68263-182-9    $17.99

When Bo’s two older brothers, Erik and Ivan, set off from the castle on a quest to hunt a monster, they refuse to allow her to join, sneering that she’s too little. So, Bo goes on her own monster-hunting quest. One by one she encounters strange creatures — a griffin, a kraken, and a dragon — who look like monsters but are gentle and helpful. The griffin offers to help Bo find her way; the kraken saves her from drowning; and although the dragon roars, it is because she is crying for her missing baby. The dragon, like the kraken and griffin, “is far too caring to be a monster,” Bo concludes. When Bo learns that her brothers have captured and imprisoned the baby dragon, she realizes that even if they “didn’t look or smell or sound like monsters…they were certainly acting like monsters!” Gouache illustrations combine striking pinks, greens, and oranges as they depict initially frightening but soon appealing creatures in this winning alternative to the traditional monster-slaying adventure story.

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Hakim Azzam
Julie Hakim Azzam
Julie Hakim Azzam teaches in the English department at the University of Pittsburgh. While her academic specialization is on literature from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, she has a passion for children’s literature and has been interviewing children’s authors for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for many years.

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