Review of The Beatryce Prophecy

The Beatryce Prophecy
by Kate DiCamillo; illus. by Sophie Blackall
Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    256 pp.    g
9/21    978-1-5362-1361-4    $19.99

As this rich and absorbing novel opens, Brother Edik finds a sick girl in the barn of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, curled up with the “demon goat” Answelica. The child recovers from her fever but has lost her memory, remembering only her name, Beatryce. Brother Edik and the other monks hide Beatryce and her talents as well: the ability to read and write, a “beautiful and agile mind,” and a “dangerous will.” Beatryce, it is revealed, is the girl named in a prophecy, destined to “unseat a king and bring about a great change.” As Brother Edik tells her, “It is dangerous for you to be who you are…And so you must pretend to be someone you are not.” The king and his counselor are on her trail, so she agrees to disguise herself, to have her hair shorn and wear a monk’s robe. Soon, however, she must enter the world and, with Brother Edik, ­Answelica, and the orphan boy Jack Dory, begins a journey to take charge of her own destiny. The king’s machinations are effectively delineated in bold font in brief sections to remind readers that evil is afoot. The pairing of two-time Newbery Medalist DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux, rev. 9/03; Flora & Ulysses, rev. 9/13) and two-time Caldecott Medalist Blackall (Finding Winnie, rev. 9/15; Hello Lighthouse, rev. 3/18) is a magical alchemy. Blackall’s ­black-and-white pencil drawings and ornamented initials convey a medieval setting, while DiCamillo’s elegant, honed prose weaves a beautiful tapestry of true friends, a feisty goat, and a road to a castle where destiny will unfold.

From the September/October 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches eighth grade English at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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.