Moving somewhere new can be quite scary but it can also be an exciting adventure! In this debut picture book, The Mist Monster by Kirst...

The Mist Monster Blog Tour

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 BookBairn 1 Comments

Moving somewhere new can be quite scary but it can also be an exciting adventure! In this debut picture book, The Mist Monster by Kirsti Beautyman, little girl Penny doesn't like her new house but she does like adventures. So when her dad suggests she goes exploring and dusts off her mum's* old explorer's hat because then she will be ready for anything. But Peanut the dog snatches her hat and dashes out to the garden. So perhaps not ready for anything, and of great surprise to Penny she meets Morris, the mist monster. And before she knows it she is whisked off on a true adventure as Morris and Penny chase Peanut over water, sand and land, up hills, down slope, up trees, through bushes... all to track down a very special hat. As they return towards the house, Dad shouts to Penny that he has recovered the hat (and Peanut) and Penny has to say goodbye to Morris. And the next day she is saddened to see the blazing sunshine has evaporated the mist, and Morris along with it. Now the one thing she loved most about the new house, her new friend, has gone. But perhaps there is another adventurer waiting to explore with her? A neighbour called Archie who wants to explore and play too. And of course on the next misty day the mist monster returns to join the duo!

The illustrations throughout this book are whimsical, magical and so incredibly evocative. The soft colour palette and whispy misty scenes are in contrast with the ginger hair of Penny and the ochre yellow eyes of Morris making their movements and emotions throughout their adventure stand out vividly. The landscapes also echo these colours making the illustrations all the more rich and vivid too. With the gold foil on the cover too, this is as beautiful a book in illustration as it is in it's depiction of a lost little girl.

*Penny's mum is absent and, though it's not made clear, my interpretation is that her mum has passed away. (Worth noting if this might be a trigger for your little reader or equally it might be something supportive for them too.) With Penny feeling emotionally lost, I love the metaphor of her being lost in the mist and finding a friend to help guide her through. Something I think many children would find comforting. And in her new friendships Penny finds joy, showing the powerful magic of friendship.

I'm delighted to welcome author and illustrator, Kirsti Beautyman, to our blog today as part of our stop on The Mist Monster blog tour. The Mist Monster is Kirsti's debut picture book and below she shares her process of character development as well as some of her initial sketches of the characters.

I was really lucky to be chosen to be on the [Picture Hooks] scheme and was partnered with Helen Stephens as my mentor. Over the following months throughout early 2017, she guided me and gave bits of advice, helping me to learn to draw children and get more natural movement into my characters. This was such a lengthy process because I didn't want to end up drawing something that didn't feel like my work, so it took a while to figure out how to adapt my style and learn to draw children and characters properly. As you can see there were A LOT of different stages. The bottom image are the final roughs from The Mist Monster before I began colour, where Penny and Morris took their final forms!

What a fascinating insight into the process of developing the main character for the story! And so interesting to know that you worked with one of our favourite author-illustrators Helen Stephens. 

Thanks so much Kirsti for taking the time to share some of your process! To check out more of the blog tour you can find all the details in the banner below.

Thanks for reading,
Kim and the bairns x

Disclaimer: We were sent a review copy of The Mist Monster as part of agreement to be part of the blog tour. Please read our Review Policy  if you want to know more. If you click on the image of the book below you will be sent to using an affiliate link.  This means that if you choose to purchase on, I will receive a small sum (around 20-90p per book) from Amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog post please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our For Readers Section.

1 comment:

  1. There is something magical about mist. This book seems to capture that. I remember going for a walk with GrandMaBookBairn on a misty day on the Old Course at St Andrews. We got lost and walked in a complete circle....and I thought I knew the golf course fairly well.