*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: The Beatryce Prophecy
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Penguin Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 28, 2023
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.
A middle grade read, The Beatryce Prophecy, is an uplifting story of a young girl who was born to change her world. Living in a medieval land, her very existence goes against the laws set forth by the King. She can read, she can write, she is educated. It is prophesied that a girl child will change the world. A kind-hearted soul, she unites and brings joy where there was only fear and destruction before.
This is an imaginative story with sweet, but powerful rhetoric. It’s a story of the underdogs, the repressed of their society, coming forth to speak out against fear and a regime of power and control. The change makers are not necessarily the strongest or the bravest. They are ordinary people who seek only to share their truths and to uncover the good that exists in their world. With themes of friendship, love, found family, triumph of the underdog, literacy, desire for knowledge, and success in the face of adversity, I can’t think of a more robust and welcoming middle grade store that I’ve read in recent years. Comical, yet packed full of powerful emotion, this book is a thoughtful presentation of what should become a classic adventure tale. This one is perfect for the modern classroom.