Monster Slayer, A Beowulf Tale by Brian Patten & Chris Riddell


Published by Barrington Stoke, 2020.

Monster Slayer, A Beowulf Tale is a prose retelling of the old English poem. When Grendel, a bloodthirsty monster, awakes from a hundred years of sleep he emerges from the swamp and terrorises the kingdom. He kills the king’s best warriors and then returns, night after night, to pick off and feast upon unwary villagers. Warriors come from far and wide but none can defeat the monster. After years of destruction and devastation, hope arrives with Beowulf – a brave warrior with the strength of 30 men.

I loved Monster Slayer; Brian Patten is an excellent storyteller! The book is full of wonderfully vivid, and often gruesome, descriptions. The plot is pacey and exciting. The themes of bravery and adventure run throughout the book. There’s lots of tension and chapters often end on a cliffhanger.

Chris Riddell’s brilliant black and white line drawings are great, as ever. Monster Slayer is an incredibly beautiful book, from the shiny foiled cover to the fabulous illustrations and the intricate page borders.

The book has been published with emergent and reluctant readers in mind and the genius of this book is that its content is gripping and appealing while remaining accessible. Its design also means that it’s dyslexia friendly.

This is a short book and, if used in school, would be perfect as a class read aloud – serialised over a week. It would also fit really well into a unit of work on myths and legends.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 9+

I originally reviewed this book for the BooksforTopics website (click here for link). Thank you to Barrington Stoke and BooksforTopics for sending me this book to review.


  1. I have a reluctant, though perfectly capable, reader. This looks like something he will love, and it will be a great way to get him into more advanced versions of Beowulf. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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