The Beatryce Prophecy, by Kate DiCamillo

Brother Edik approached the goat’s stall warily, since Answelica had a very hard head and was not hesitant to use it on any of the monks’ backsides, but what he did not expect to find was a young girl curled up fast asleep, holding on to Answelica’s ear as if it were a lifeline.

Beatryce could only remember her name, not her parents nor where she lived, but she could easily read anything put in front of her, which was a crime. Girls were not allowed to read. As a matter of fact, Edik had not even known that it was possible for females to read, so he shaved her head, put her into the smallest monk’s robe he could find, and took her into the monastery of The Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing in order to protect her life, whatever that life might be.

Of course, Brother Edik knew what Beatryce did not: that there was a prophecy that read, “There will one day come a girl child who will unseat a king and bring about a great change.” The king and his counselor knew it, however, so Beatryce’s life was in danger, although no one knew why.

Every tale Kate DiCamillo spins turns to gold, and this one is no exception. Folded into this medieval story of a lost girl and a charmingly wicked goat are glimpses of glory, a good dose of feminism, nuggets of wisdom, and a stubborn hope for a brighter future. When it came time for Beatryce to prove that she could write, she slowly inscribed: “We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.” Indeed, we shall.

Don’t miss DiCamillo’s other works, especially The Tale of Despereaux, and those reviewed in this blog, Flora & Ulysses, Raymie Nightingale, Louisiana’s Way Home, and Beverly, Right Here.

A luminous tale for ages eight to eighty-eight. Very highly recommended.

Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and may not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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