Introducing the Bestiary

A couple-few years ago, I promised my oldest son, Jack, that I’d write him a book. It was an off-the-cuff thing, but I made good on it and had Benjamin Weatherby’s Practical Bestiary printed, bound and under the tree for Christmas.

For years, I’ve been interested in how stories shape the imagination. I believe that telling the right sorts of stories is an essential, formative part of raising kids. And I try to tell them stories that shape my kids in the right way.

We’ve found a lot of stories that do this well — The Green Ember, The Wingfeather Saga, The Hobbit, novels by Edward Eager and Edith Nesbit, Harry Potter, others — and a lot of stories that do it poorly.

The world needs more books that do it well.

Benjamin Weatherby’s Practical Bestiary has a lot of the things that I consider essential to good stories: adventure, mystery, danger, fun. I made it a little scary because I think kids need a good scare every now and again. And I wanted to invite children (and adults) into the imaginative, creative process.

I poured my heart into this thing, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.

Sheep have been disappearing from the flock outside Warmbriar. There’s a Stranger in town and whispers of beasts in the Bloodwood. Young Pilcrow is determined to find out what’s happening.

Pilcrow’s search brings him from the top of sleepy Tawidge Chapel, high above town, to the crypts far underground; from cozy Warmbriar to the busy streets and university halls of Dunboven; from pastoral meadows and hills to a shadowed ravine deep in the woods.

Along the way, he discovers a book — Benjamin Weatherby’s Practical Bestiary — which promises to unlock the secret. But can he trust what it says? Will he discover the truth before it’s too late?