Cover image for A beasty story
A beasty story
Martin, Bill, 1916-2004.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Silver Whistle/Harcourt Brace, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 32 cm
A group of mice venture into a dark, dark woods where they find a dark brown house with a dark red stair leading past other dark colors to a spooky surprise.
Reading Level:
BR Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.6 0.5 42381.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.6 1 Quiz: 20331 Guided reading level: I.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-A-B-C 1-2-3 Books
Clearfield Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Oversize
East Aurora Library PIC BK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Eggertsville-Snyder Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Kenmore Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Kenmore Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Niagara Branch Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Orchard Park Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Anna M. Reinstein Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Williamsville Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Audubon Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Oversize

On Order



In a dark, dark house, in a dark, dark wood lurks a creepy, beasty . . . BEAST! But fear not--this beast may not be so beastly after all. The talents of Bill Martin Jr and Steven Kellogg come together for the first time to create a ghoulish story that's both scary and snug. Cuddle up but beware--you're in for a big, beasty surprise!

Author Notes

Children's writer Bill Martin, Jr. was born and raised in Hiawatha, Kansas. Ironically, the future early childhood educator had difficulty reading until he taught himself, before graduating with a teaching certificate from Emporia State University.

After graduation, he taught high school drama and journalism in Kansas. He served in the Army Air Force as a newspaper editor during World War II. He wrote his first book, The Little Squeegy Bug, for his brother, Bernard, an artist, to illustrate while recuperating from war wounds. It was published in 1945 and the brothers would go on to collaborate on 10 more books by 1955.

He earned a master's degree and doctorate in early childhood education from Northwestern University and became principal of an elementary school in Evanston, Ill., where he developed innovative reading programs. In 1962 Martin moved to New York City to become editor of the school division of Holt, Rhinehart and Winston where he developed the literature-based reading programs Sounds of Language and The Instant Readers.

Martin returned to full-time writing in 1972 and ended up writing over three hundred children's books during his career. His titles include; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear?, The Ghost-Eye Tree, Barn Dance, and Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom. He died on August 11, 2004 at the age of 88.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. On the dust jacket, four sporty mice warn readers that a beast "hovers between the covers." The story continues on the opening endpapers and an important visual clue occurs on the title page. As the four explore "a dark, dark house," each page introduces a new color and takes them closer to the beast, who emerges from a dark green bottle and flies away with the brave mice in pursuit. A rhymed narrative tells the story along the top of the pages, with the mice commenting in rhymed conversation as they move through the adventure. The the silly resolution will appeal to young children. Ironically, a real monster appears on the endpapers. Kellogg's lively ink-and-watercolor art strikes just the right note for the gently suspenseful story. The rich repetitive language and the introduction of numbers and colors make this appropriate for classroom use. The parallel structure, buoyant tone, and clever details--reminiscent of Peggy Rathmann's 10 Minutes till Bedtime (1998)--ensure more than one reading. Beastly good fun! --Linda Perkins

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Nick's Tricks and Hank's Pranks, Incorporated" are the words painted on the side of a truck rolling through the forest on the front endpaper of this mischievous caper; mice Nick and Hank themselves surface on the title page, offering observant youngsters a clue to the plot that lies ahead. In large type well geared to beginning readers, the text sets the scene for each spreadÄand reinforces knowledge of colors: "In a dark, dark wood there is a dark, dark house./ In the dark brown house there is a dark, dark stair." Appearing in speech balloons within the whimsical illustrations, the ingenuous, rhyming dialogue of four wide-eyed mice supplements the narrative. The intrepid mice venture into the shadow-filled house and creep down a dark, dark red staircase to a cellar with dark, dark blue walls, and so forth, until they find a dark, dark green bottle. The "beast" that floats out of it is only the first of the book's surprises. A high-spirited balance of concept book and adventure tale, this should find an enthusiastic reception among the many fans of Martin (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) and Kellogg (Is Your Mama a Llama?). Both artist and illustrator shine as they playfully illuminate this "dark, dark" setting. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-K A wonderful collaboration by a talented pair. Their tale happens in "a dark, dark wood," but ends in a silly, silly way. Four mice explore a "dark, dark house" and find (in a dark purple cupboard) a dark green bottle holding a yellow-eyed monster that escapes, sending the mice fleeing. Large-print rhyming text appears at the top of each page; the story is embellished by the mice, who expand upon the narrative in bubble captions, also in rhyme. The initial tone is a little ominous, but the little critters seem too nice to have anything really bad happen to them. Observant children may note the clue in the endpaper the delivery van for "Nick's Tricks and Hank's Pranks," complete with a logo of two big yellow eyes. As if scariness and rhyming text weren't enough to guarantee success, the authors toss in some color naming. All of the elements add up to a picture book with plenty of appeal. Lap listeners will enjoy lingering on the ample details, and the book's size and the story's rhythm are perfect for sharing. The relatively intense color palette and simple settings will allow children at the back of the group to enjoy the pictures, too. Kellogg's trademark animals and his ability to create action on a page are well in evidence. This one is sure to be a hit. Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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