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 is the assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in literary and cultrual studies, with a specialization in comparative contemporary postcolonial literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia. Her most recent work focuses on children's literature, stories about immigrants and refugees, and youth coping with disability.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.