Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a little village on the edge of the forest.
She was born long ago, when times were hard; as she knew they would be.
She enjoyed life well enough, until she realised that other people couldn’t cope with her. She enraged her father and brought tears to her mother’s eyes.
All because she had grown a beard. It was so natural, indeed becoming to a Canadian forester or lumberjack – except those aren’t little girls, usually, it seems.
And so, off into the woods she went. Despite the fact that it was getting colder all the while.
She met all sorts of creatures along the way. The geese of her homeland flew overhead.
She turned to a rooster for warmth and comfort.
But the big men in their big boots were just the sort of creature she didn’t want to meet.
What happened? Read it and find out. You’ll swallow it whole, or it will swallow you whole.
Just like all the best fairy stories, it’s a long time since I’ve read anything quite so real and unreal at the same time. Julie Demers in Rhonda Mullins’ translation simply shines. It’s not a long book, but it will stay with you. Little Beast is a tale that will and bear telling, and retelling.