Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Chris Judge
Illustrator: Chris Judge
Publisher: Andersen Press USA
Beast is only expecting a newspaper when he checks his doorstep one bright day. Instead, he gets an egg-cellent surprise that turns his routine upside down. Unsure how to care for his new egg, Beast does the best he can—to no response from the egg. Eventually, after a particularly near-catastrophic miss, Beast takes the egg to the doctor and finds out exactly what to do to care for the egg. After a few days, Beast gets another surprise as he suddenly has not an egg but a baby beast! After a few initial bumps in the road, the two bond and get on quite well. One day, they open the door expecting to find the morning newspaper and get another surprise edition to their family . . . or two!
The Baby Beast is sure to engage preschool-age readers with the many mishaps along bumbling, lovable Beast’s journey to parenthood, which bumps frequently leading to the egg getting lost, dropped, and otherwise comically forgotten as Beast treats it as a baby until it hatches. The illustrations are simple, cartoonish, and somehow manage to give Beast quite an expressive personality though he lacks any facial features besides eyes. The story isn’t particularly exciting for adults and older readers, as it follows the classic trajectory of how to hatch an egg, but preschoolers just starting to learn about the development of egg-grown animals will recognize and delight in the goofiness of Beast’s initial methods. This book would be a dependable story-time supplement to preschool curriculum focusing on the growth and development of animals in eggs.