Cover image for Battle of the beasts
Battle of the beasts
Wallis, Diz.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
Brooklyn, NY : Ragged Bears, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 x 36 cm
When the bear insults the wren's children, a battle breaks out among the forest animals.
General Note:
Adaptation of: Zaunkönig und der Bär.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.0 0.5 68337.
Added Uniform Title:
Zaunkönig und der Bär.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Clarence Library PZ8.W175 BAT 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
Clearfield Library PZ8.W175 BAT 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
Hamburg Library PZ8.W175 BAT 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library PZ8.W175 BAT 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library PZ8.W175 BAT 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
Audubon Library PZ8.W175 BAT 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

On Order



A cranky bear and a cantankerous wren set feather and fur flying in this lavish adaptation of the Grimms' fairy tale "The Willow Wren and the Bear". Over-sized and opulent, "Battle of the Beasts" provides a feast for the eyes and a wicked text for the ear -- the perfect vehicle for Diz Wallis' magnificent gift of illuminating the natural world and the razor-sharp pen she applies to her writing. Iridescent hummingbirds flitting though the trees, a leathery alligator slouching in the Mississippi, a sleek leopard stealing through the jungle: these and literally hundreds of other creatures great and small inhabit a meticulously researched and lovingly rendered universe.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-5. A traditional tale from the Brothers Grimm gets a sprightly retelling and a lavish presentation in this oversize (14 by 11 inch), elegantly illustrated British import, which may be the first "children's" picture book actually to bill itself as "a handsome addition to any adult's coffee table." The story recounts the war that erupts between the animals and the birds (and insects) when the bear insults the baby offspring of the wren, the King of Birds. The text, on left-hand pages, is adorned with small pictures. These add life and humor to the full-page pictures on the facing pages, which resemble fussily posed exhibits from a museum of natural history. Although beautifully executed and as packed with birds and animals as a Victorian parlor, these pictures lack personality and energy. The story is lively and well told, however, and it's hard to dislike a book this beautiful, even though it will most likely have more appeal to adult collectors than to young readers. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

Based on a Brothers Grimm tale ("The Willow Wren and the Bear," also known as "The Kinglet and the Bear"), this oversize picture book pits "fur against the feather" when Bear rejects the wren's claim to royalty. In the Grimm tale, the wren's singing attracts the bear's attention, but in Wallis's retelling, Bear "had heard" that the wren was "the King of Birds" and thus wants to see the royal's palace. When he snubs the princelings (he calls them "five puny little birdies in a nasty little nesty, with a scrubby, shrubby garden all around"), the wren declares war. Wallis's paintings are at their best as the creatures assemble their teams: a naturalistic full-page painting of the birds perched on tree limbs with butterflies, bees and gnats flitting nearby, and another of Fox mounting the elephant's back to keep lookout convey the lushness of the forest. The gnat acts as the birds' spy and learns that Fox's tail will be the beasts' standard; the birds then send in a hornet. Stung, Fox lets his tail droop and the animals quickly retreat, assuming defeat. Wallis's playful, poetic descriptions ("squelchy puddles by the muddy Mississippi"; Bear with his "shabby, shaggy knees") make this a strong read-aloud choice. Her minutely detailed paintings, however, recall botanical prints, and despite occasional touches of humor may appeal more to adults. Ages 5-8. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Classic themes of wounded pride and revenge between beast and bird fuel this relatively unknown Grimm tale. Wren, the king of all animals, has his feathers ruffled when his princelings are insulted by brazen Bear, who declares them "very humble offspring." Demands for an apology and subsequent refusals quickly escalate into righteous indignation on both sides and, ultimately, in an all out declaration of war. Fur and feathers face off but final victory is insured by the hornet, who proves that a sharp stinger is more effective than brute strength. In a twist, the conclusion illustrates the folly of such fierce pride on both sides, as the princelings have lost all interest in honor and care only about their next meal. Though traditional in its content and visual presentation, the story has been adapted to include elements such as an alligator in "squelchy puddles by the muddy Mississippi." The tale is retold with surprising wit and warmth. Lively language, colorful phrases, sprightly dialogue, and plentiful exclamations contrast with the oversized, masterful paintings, which pay homage to another era. The lavish illustrations in rich tones are opulent and will have immediate appeal for adults, and they are filled with enough detail and expression to engage young readers and reward them with new discoveries upon repeated examinations.-Starr LaTronica, Four County Library System, Vestal, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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