Book cover
Bea Wolf
Zach Weinersmith

I heard this book mentioned on the Lingthusiasm podcast and knew I had to get it. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. It is pure perfection.

I suppose I should start by saying—if you don’t know—it’s an absurd and delightful adaptation of the first half or so of Beowulf, re-imagined as a graphic novel for children. A succession of kiddos in place of Kings, a tree house in place of a castle, and—believe it or not—a fussy suit-and-tie-clad neighbor in place of Grendel. I won’t say much more because it is unimaginably fun to discover it on every page.

The language is perfectly over-the-top with silly kennings and extreme alliteration. And every page is pure imagination. Think Garbage Pale Kids meets The Classics™.

Every page is a work of art, drawn by Boulet. The artwork is charming, irreverent, and over the top. I read this as an e-book but immediately ordered a print copy to keep on my shelf.

A graphic novel page showing an enormous looming man in heavy-rimmed glasses, a plaid button up shirt, and a tie. A small girl, about six, stands before him with her back to us, standing bravely. The art style is black and white, hand-drawn, moody, dark, and dramatic, but also playful. Text on the page reads, 'She searched his spectacles, saw no fear.
Only a vast joy-void, empty as a vacuum. His soul was a snowbank, unsleded, a snowcone unsweetened, a snowman unscarfed.'

Credit: Boulet, Zach Weinersmith, and First Second publishers.

This is the kind of deranged madcap labor of love that will always thrill me. It’s the fourth adaptation of Beowulf I’ve read, and easily as good as the others.

I almost can’t wait for grandkids so I can pull this off the shelf at just the right time.