Anything DiCamillo writes is gold, but her newest fantasy tale, replete with gorgeous illustrations by Sophie Blackall, has a particularly brilliant shine. From the glorious opening chapter on the delightfully vicious Answelica the goat, I was hooked. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will walk away filled with the importance of sharing stories and love. Recommended By Madeline S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A 2021 People Magazine Best Books of Fall Winner
From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall comes a fantastical meditation on fate, love, and the power of words to spell the world.
We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.
In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all — for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.
And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories — powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves — ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her — a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone — will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo's lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters.
"Set 'during a time of war' when 'terrible things happen everywhere,' Newbery Medalist DiCamillo's engrossing medieval fable verges on darkness while examining what changes a world... Tenderly illuminated by Caldecott Medalist Blackall's atmospheric, fine-lined b&w art, this compassionate tale rejoices in 'the wonder of being known,' the protective powers of understanding one's identity, and the strength found in the hard head of a beloved goat." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The story is told in language as clear and beautiful as an illuminated manuscript, with characters who spring instantly to life. The fairy-tale conventions give it a sense of timelessness and omnipresence... Blackall's luminous black-and-white illustrations and medieval-style spot art add to this feeling and are wonderful at conveying emotion through posture, pose, and delicate linework... A book with an angelic soul: large, sharp, and uncompromising." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Somehow, DiCamillo manages to fit a medieval epic into just over 250 pages — and that includes many glorious black-and-white illustrations by Blackall that one can easily envision stitched upon a tapestry. DiCamillo fills her narrative with humor and love... a gently feminist tale where stories carry the same power as magic and are, perhaps, one and the same." Booklist (starred review)
"Melding the language of prophecies with that of fairy tales and whispered dreams, Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo's latest novel for young readers is both feminist and sweet... a gentle and wondrous tale that celebrates knowledge, kindness, and the boundless power of the imagination... Delicate illustrations and rich fairy tales run throughout the book, which stirs hope and joy at every turn." Foreword Reviews (starred review)
"The deeply satisfying conclusion finds villains properly vanquished, the prophecy fulfilled with a clever spin, and happily-ever-afters grounded on friendships and strong ethics all round." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
About the Author
Kate DiCamillo is one of America's most revered storytellers. She is a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and a two-time Newbery Medalist. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis.
Sophie Blackall is the acclaimed illustrator of more than forty-five books for young readers and a two-time Caldecott Medalist. Born and raised in Australia, she now lives in Brooklyn.