Benjamin Weatherby’s Practical Bestiary (Feburary book club)

“You can’t lie your way to the truth any more than I can, and once you break it there’s no easy way to put it back together. It always costs something – usually more than we’re willing to pay” (Father Chestnut)


It’s not every day you get to meet an author and talk with him or her about a book. When you do, it’s an amazing experience! You get to learn new things about the author, the book and lots of cool insight into how and why it was written.

This month, we got to do just that!


Josh Bishop, author of Benjamin Weatherby’s Practical Bestiary, came to our book club this month along with his 3rd grade son Jack. It was so fun to have them join us! Benjamin Weatherby is Josh’s first book and we were some of the first to read it. What an amazing experience.

Benjamin Weatherby’s Practical Bestiary is an adventure novel about shepherds and trolls and the danger of abandoning old truths passed down in fables and folklore.

Josh graciously answered all our questions, made beautiful G. K. Chesterton, Kenneth Grahame, and CS Lewis reference, and inspired us with his philosophy of the ways children’s stories can shape the ways we think about evil and good in our world. I loved his comments about how we need to recognize, name, and respond to the evil (and good) in our world.

We learned of the poem that inspired the book, of Basker the dog being a late addition in his writing process, and the reasons he picked the character and location names he did (Tawidge Chapel is a reference to his 3 year old son’s way of pronouncing “College Chapel). Check out Josh’s website for more information about Josh and his book:

Josh was gracious enough to ask us for feedback and suggestions. Some of the boys gave him ideas for sequels, others talk about how they did or did not like the story within a story aspect to the book.We shared some of our drawing based on scenes in the book (the book has blank pages for readers to draw pictures in) and discussed the “scary” elements in the story. It was such a wonderful discussion!

Of course, we also ate good food related to the book…

…the Shepherd’s brown ale (aka root beer) was the favorite but we also enjoyed Father Chestnut’s berries and cream and Pilcrow’s mother’s bread and cheese. We took home our own shattered lightcatchers!

We also had an acting competition with the boys vs the moms. Each group staged the scary troll scene and acted out all the gory details. The moms won (Mrs Fuentes had an outstanding troll roar!) but it was close!

All in all, another fantastic experience. Thanks all!

Josh – we wish you all the best in your writing and look forward to reading more of your books!






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