I Read's Reviews > Beasts of New York: A Children's Book for Grown-Ups

Beasts of New York by Jon Evans
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's review
Sep 21, 09

bookshelves: animal
Read in September, 2009

I thought this book was surprisingly long for the subject matter, but then the book does say it’s written for grownups despite the child-like genre, so I guess it does what it says on the label! It did make me wonder whether the story would feel dragged out for the sake of extending it but I didn’t find this at all when reading – the plot carried you well from start to finish. The vocabulary was simple which fitted with the feel of a children's story and allowed you to read without it being taxing.

I think the author successfully wrote from the animals’ point of view – continually keeping what they would know and how they would describe things in mind, which meant you were able to stay immersed in the book without incongruous parts stopping you in your tracks and leading you to think about them rather than enjoying the tale. In most instances I was able to tell easily what the squirrel was describing, but in some cases I did struggle, though this made no difference to my ability to follow the story. I particularly I liked the way he had changed common human turns of phrase into ‘animal speech’ so they were still recognisable but fitted with the character saying/thinking it.

I did wonder before beginning this book whether my total lack of knowledge about New York would affect my appreciation at all, but I don’t feel it did and though it probably would have been nice to recognise the land marks and mentally follow his journey (possibly also making it easier to tie up descriptions), it was nice to explore the area with the same eyes as the characters.

Reminiscent of Watership Down, though perhaps just because of the animal theme – I found it a little more farfetched due the apparent invincibility of certain squirrels and the slightly more fanciful animals involved (though I liked the epilogue at the end explaining this and reinforcing the feasibility). However; it’s a good tale in its own right.
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08/26/2009 page 33
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