September/October 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“Kate DiCamillo weaves a medieval tale that reads like a classic fable. This ode to stories will leave readers feeling comforted, like they are securely holding onto the ear of a beloved goat.”
— Julie Jarema, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
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.
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.
The story, as well as Sophie Blackall’s lustrous pencil illustrations, lingers in the bright places of work and discovery, illumination and beauty. . . Beatryce, both the character and the book, are easy to love.
—The New York Times Book 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)
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)
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 pairing of two-time Newbery Medalist DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Blackall is a magical alchemy. Blackall’s black-and-white pencil drawings and ornamented initials convey a medieval setting, while DiCamillo’s elegant, honed prose weaves a beautiful tapestry of true friends, a feisty goat, and a road to a castle where destiny will unfold.
—The Horn Book (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)
In the beautifully spare prose that has become one of her hallmarks, DiCamillo poses big questions, such as “What does it mean to be brave?” and invites readers to discover their own answers. . . . The Beatryce Prophecy is certain to be cherished.
—Bookpage (starred review)
A gentle tale of the power of love and the determination to do the right thing, even when that thing comes at great personal cost.
—School Library Journal
The descriptive text results in vivid settings that could serve as a fictional component to a medieval unit. This title also fits the bill for teachers looking for a heroine that uses her brains and courage instead of a sword, and one who is not objectified for her physical attributes.
—School Library Connection
In The Beatryce Prophecy, the talents of two-time Newbery medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall combine to create an unforgettable medieval epic that illustrates the magical and myriad ways that love and stories change the world. Delightfully unexpected allies find profound connection through a common belief in the importance of compassion, even in the face of evil. . . . With her trademark lyrical language and flair for storytelling, DiCamillo (Flora & Ulysses; Because of Winn-Dixie) writes like a patient knitter untangling a ball of yarn as she knits.
—Shelf Awareness, Kids' Maximum Shelf
A monk finds a girl in a barn. She can’t remember her name, but she can read, which means she belongs to someone rich and important. Could she be the girl prophesized to 'unseat a king?'
Ms. Blackall and Ms. DiCamillo both produce work marked by great delicacy of feeling, so their pairing here is inspired. Our hearts are engaged, and our minds (Beatryce wonders: ‘What world is this I now inhabit, and how shall I live in it’) and our laughter.
—The Wall Street Journal
A perfect read for kids who love tales of Medieval journeys and prophecies, this new tale by children’s book superstar Kate DiCamillo follows a young girl named Beatryce as she sets off on an epic quest.
Extraordinary. . . . DiCamillo’s signature precise and elegant language and Blackall’s lustrous black-and-white illustrations combine to create Beatryce, an unforgettable heroine who demonstrates the power of knowledge, kindness, determination, and what it takes to change a sometimes dark and confusing world.
—The Boston Globe
Part fable, part morality story, ‘The Beatryce Prophecy’ has a heavy load to carry but it is all beautifully light in DiCamillo's hands.
—The Star Tribune
Written in a style similar to the author’s other award-winning books, such as The Tale of Despereaux, this story of hope, kindness, and even betrayal may remind you of a fairy tale.
—The Week Jr.
The book’s drawings make it even more enchanting to read.
—The Week Jr.
Set during a medieval time of war, a mysterious young girl named Beatryce arrives at Brother Edik's monastery in need of help. As Brother Edik discovers her dangerous secret, Beatryce ventures into the forest in search of a castle in this story about fate and love.
[The Beatryce Prophecy] is about the power of friendship, love and story, and though it is dark at times, it glows with hope. . . . With its resourceful protagonist — not to mention the fearless Answelica — the book carries the message that girls can be their own saviors.
—The Star Tribune
The incomparable Kate DiCamillo offers a lovely fable of a girl, a monk and a goat, a tale that is a testament of the power of love (as so many of her books are) and the power of the written word to change the world for the better.
—The Buffalo News
The Beatryce Prophecy is an extraordinary tale of courage and found family. This book has all the hallmarks of an instant classic: a beautifully layered story with unforgettable characters who take root in your heart.
—Amazon Book Review
The characters in this story will stay with you, as will the story itself, just as all good and lasting tales do.
—Amazon Book Review
The medieval tale of destiny and artistry begins with questions and answers them one by one, in author Kate DiCamillo’s distinctive style, as her idiosyncratic characters unravel a plot that’s a satisfying mix of surprising and inevitable. . . . Everyone ends up where they belong, more or less, although the magic is in how they get there.
—The Virginian Pilot
The Beatryce Prophecy is a compelling tale that opens our eyes to the sheer power of reading and storytelling to crack open the world. . . . Funny and thoughtful, Kate DiCamillo is as delightful to speak with as she is to read.
—The National Endowment for the Arts
In true DiCamillo spirit, the novel is a captivating testament to the power of words and love to right the world.
—The Toledo Blade
[The Beatryce Prophecy] has amazing stories-within-stories, lots of action and adventure, and one great goat named Answelica. And it includes lovely illustrations by Sophie Blackall.
The Beatryce Prophecy is classic Kate DiCamillo. The writing is gorgeous, the story is thought provoking, and the characters are unique and utterly human.
A brilliant meditation on love, family, trust, and the stories that bind us to each other.
—The New York Journal of Books
Kate DiCamillo isn’t afraid of lobbing the occasional angel at you, whether it has blue wings or smells like a sewer, but in her latest book The Beatryce Prophecy there’s something else on her mind. Pairing with the utterly lovely Sophie Blackall, the two present us with a story that has all the trappings of a fable, and all the reality of a thoroughly thrilling tale.
—A Fuse #8 Production
This hopeful story of language, leadership, and love has so much to offer readers as an independent read, a whole class read aloud, or a book club exploration. Our weary, virus-laden world needs the goodness and joy this book conjures.
—The Classroom Bookshelf
DiCamillo’s voice as an author is delightful and resembles that of a fairy tale. Her descriptions are unusual and vivid.
—The Historical Novel Society