Review: two books by Giles Paley-Phillips

Our latest review is of two picture books written by Giles Paley-Phillips and illustrated by Gabriele Antonini.

The Fearsome Beastie


Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball

Images courtesy of


What they’re about: Both of these books by Giles Paley-Phillips are about children coming face to face with monsters although with very different results! In The Fearsome Beastie the children discover a monster who appears to want to be their friend. Despite their initial reluctance, the children are won across by their feelings of sympathy towards the tearful beast, who turns out to be as fearsome as the title suggests. In Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball, fearful Tamara is carried away by a hairy monster in the middle of the night. Despite her fears, the monsters just wanna have fun.

Holly’s review: The Fearsome Beastie is very clever in how the story unfolds. I like the rhymes as it makes stories sound better. The kids are funny and they have some great lines. What I like is that the story goes against what you might expect to happen – you think that the beast is genuinely upset and wants to be friends but then there’s a nasty surprise in store for the children when they try to do the right thing. It’s not like lots of other books which just have happiness in them. I liked the drawings too as the kids’ bottoms stick out in a funny way! I would recommend this book but I think it might be scary for children under the age of four.

Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball is not too scary though and I think everyone can read it and enjoy it. I liked the fact that the monsters want to have fun and both the monsters and child have a good time. It helps kids know that people who sometimes might look scary aren’t whereas The Fearsome Beastie has a message – I think – that you shouldn’t meddle with strangers.

Sam’s review: I’m studying for an MA in children’s literature at the moment, and am totally immersed in the land of fairy tales. Reading these two books reminded me of the fairy tale tradition, particularly The Fearsome Beastie, where children have to use their intelligence to outwit the monster (and the older children are forced to trust the youngest – another typical feature of fairy tales). What I liked about it is the mid-story twist – so many books for children these days are sanitised so that nothing scary happens. Children like a bit of suspense and can deal with it, so why not resort back to some of the traditional techniques and add some humour into the bargain as Giles Paley-Phillips does? As Holly said, the rhyme helps give the stories a nice rhythm and adds to the tension, showcasing the author’s poetic background. The illustrations in both books are strong and fill the page with colour. We enjoyed both of these stories and wish we’d got our act together to review them for Hallowe’en – they certainly have that spook factor!


*Please note that we received these books for review but were under no obligation to do so, and the views represented here are entirely our own.




  1. Great reviews of these two books. They are defiantly ones every parent should have part of their child’s collection. My daughter defiantly has a fear of monsters and stories like this help overcome such fears. Thanks for sharing.


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