At first alarmed by the “beast in her belly,” a little girl eventually makes peace with it in this very short chapter book.
The unnamed narrator of this Polish import is a spunky, bespectacled preschooler who meets with endless frustration as she tries to convince her family about the titular beast. She is so upset that she even forgoes her slice of cake, which causes the beast to make “whimpering sounds like it was sorry.” She works hard to identify the creature—cat? dog? carp?—but all she’s really able to discover is that it seems to like her favorite foods, quieting down with contentment after they eat. Kasdepke’s deadpan text is fluidly translated by Monod-Gayraud, unfurling with a quiet irony that will elicit chuckles from both adults and children. After the beast leads the little girl to the fridge for a midnight snack, “I discovered what a greedy beast it was! It wouldn’t go back to sleep until it had eaten not one, not two, not three, but four sausages!” Koztowski’s expressive illustrations are dominated by oranges and teals, varying layout and placement on the page with controlled whimsy. The “beast” is depicted as an ever present orange circle against the girl’s midriff; scribbly representations of the various creatures she imagines it to be appear in the margins.
An amusing take on a universal human experience, one that should strike giggling chords among its readers. (Fiction. 7-10)