Monster Slayer: A Beowulf Tale by Brian Patten, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Publication Date: 15 January 2020

The Blurb

One dark night, the sound of music and singing wakes a terrible monster from his sleep in a foul swamp…

Warrior after warrior comes to slay the monster, but no one can outwit Grendel. Only the great hero Beowulf stands a chance, but even he is not prepared for the horror that lies in wait.


The Review

Beowulf is believed to be one of the earliest surviving texts in the English speaking world, and it has been retold numerous times, and I take my hat off to anyone who tackles this epic legend.

Monster Slayer provides the perfect introduction. Brian Patten’s prose is rich and wonderfully atmospheric, bringing Heorot to life during the feasts that woke the monster, and the many nights of fear that followed, until our hero’s arrival.

Chris Riddell’s distinctive illustrations capture the grotesque hated-filled monsters and Beowulf’s strength and heroism, and fit this retelling perfectly. I’m delighted to be able to share a few of them with you here…


Edited to a reading age of 8, this is a perfect retelling of the legend for younger readers, avoiding non of the gore. Perfect for LKS2 classes studying the story, and as an introductory pleasure read.

You can read the first chapter over at Barrington Stoke.

Huge thanks to Kirstin at Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy, and to Chris Riddell for the amazing gallery of art work.

About The Author


Brian Patten first found fame as one of the Liverpool Poets in the 1960s. He has written extensively for adults and children and won numerous awards. He was given the Freedom of Liverpool in 2002.


About The Illustrator


Chris Riddell is an award-winning artist, cartoonist and author and was appointed the UK Children’s Laureate in 2015, a role which he used to promote the joy of drawing, doodling and telling stories. He lives in Brighton with his wife and three children, plus Rosie his invisible dog. Chris says that he gets up at 5.32 sharp every morning – “except on the days that I don’t”.

About Barrington Stoke

For over 20 years they’ve been pioneering super-readable, dyslexia-friendly fiction to help every child become a reader. From their specially designed font to the colour of theirr paper, accessibility is at the heart of everything they do.