Books for Children

Maurice the Unbeastly

By Amy Dixon (Author), Karl James Mountford (Ilustrator)


Format Hardcover Picture Book


Maurice the Unbeastly

by Amy Dixon, Karl James Mountford



Barnes and Noble Indiebound
Beasts roar! Beasts destroy! But not Maurice.
This frightfully unbeastly tale about staying true to yourself is for everyone who’s just a little bit different.
With his melodious voice, fondness for kale, and unfailing politeness, Maurice isn’t quite like other beasts. So his concerned Mama and Papa send their ridiculously photogenic beastie to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts to learn how to behave badly. Will Maurice master growling, scowling, snarling, and howling? Or will he prove that being different is a good thing after all?
“ . . . an assortment of reds, yellow, and greens are the only colors used, yet they beautifully set the tone for a book that’s as wonderfully oddball as Maurice himself. VERDICT A gentle and welcoming read-aloud addition to any collection.” —School Library Journal

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A misfit monster comes into his own when the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts is invaded by a scary creature. Sweet of voice, vegetarian, and "ridiculously photogenic," Maurice is not only the despair of his hairy parents, but on the verge of being kicked out of school for singing when he should be roaring, dancing when he should be practicing havoc-wreaking, and sneaking alfalfa fritters into the rioting lunchroom. When a frightening invader—which is to say, a frisky small dog—sends the monstrous students and teachers into tizzies, though, Maurice tames the beast with a fritter and so earns the title of Official Creature Whisperer. Not content to rest on his laurels, he leverages this "gargantuan success" by going on to organize an a cappella group called The Barbaritones and campaign for more lunch options ("Raise Your Tail for Kale"). Just as the story celebrates differences, so do Mountford's cartoon illustrations, which surround Maurice (a Wild Thing outtake with green skin and human facial features) with an array of fellow student monsters, no two of whom look even remotely alike. An urbane take on the "nice monster" theme.
- Kirkus Reviews

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. . . Dixon’s effervescent writing delivers a message about individuality with a light touch and Mountford’s illustrations bring an appropriately creepy-cute atmosphere to the pages.
- Publishers Weekly

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Amy Dixon grew up as one of seven siblings, so the only peace and quiet she ever got was inside a book. Amy is the author of Marathon Mouse and Sophie’s Animal Parade (both Sky Pony). She and her husband Rob wrangle their four beasts in Clovis, CA, where she encourages them on a daily basis to be a bit less beastly.

Karl James Mountford has been drawing, painting, and generally making a mess since he was a kid. Born in Germany, he was brought up in the UK, and currently lives in Wales, where his sketchbooks rarely get a day off. This is his first picture book. Visit him at

Maurice the Unbeastly Book Trailer

Pub Date: 9/5/2017

ISBN: 9781454919537

Price: $16.95 / $19.95 CAN

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Pages: 32 pages, all in color

Trim: 8.5 x 10.875 Inches

Territories: World

Category: Juvenile / Picture Books

Age Range: 3 and up

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books