Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Beasts of Upton Puddle-Simon West-Bulford

The Beasts of Upton Puddle

Simon West-Bulford

Medallion, Sep 1 2013, $9.99

ISBN: 9781605425207

In Upton Puddle, though she conceals her motive for employing the tweener from him, Mrs. Merrynether hires twelve year old Joe Copper to do menial tasks for her veterinary clinic after he came to her to help an injured raccoon. His new employer recognizes the tweener’s intelligence and kindness, traits he has used to deal with Duggan the bully and will need when he learns his true mission is to protect mankind from the Conclave of dragons by leading a force of various beasts; some considered mythical only.

Redwar industries CEO Argoyle Redwar wants to possess mysterious Merrynether Mansion and will use any amoral ruse to succeed. He cons Mrs. Merrynether into telling him where the Conclave’s Pyronesia Island is located and heads there with his menagerie to take control of the volatile dragons. Though not ready, Joe leads a team of mythical misfits as they try to prevent Redwar from seizing power.

Targeting middle school students, The Beasts of Upton Puddle is a wonderful fantasy starring a twelve year old boy whose caring empathy causes him problems and leads to errors in judgment when he commands his team as he struggles with any of them (and even the enemy) getting hurt. Holding the exciting storyline focused, Joe knows what it is like to lose someone so he hates for anyone to suffer pain or death. Yet he has a “two-front” war to fight as he, Mrs. Merrynether and their odd allies battle a ruthless avaricious psychopath and if they survive him and his horde perhaps one day soon the belligerent dragons.

Harriet Klausner

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