From Publishers Weekly
The creators of Mockingbird here serve up an appetizing series of "Once upon a time..." short takes that lead whimsically into one another. The title character offers a disparaging commentary on the initial entries ("What's going on?"; "This is ridiculous"), then decides he will take over the writing. The ursine hero puts himself in the spotlight as he rescues Red Riding Hood and her grandmother from the wolf, bests the troll under a bridge and ties up a dragon that is "eating everything--left, right, and center--and setting fire to things." As part of his reward, the victorious bear receives the princess's hand in marriage, though the pigtailed royal will have none of it ("Anyway, I'm not marrying a bear"). In turn, she pens her own tale, in which she shirks footmen, French maids and princes and moves "into an apartment with a couple of friends, started a career in television--and went shopping." In addition to the villains, a penguin and a sausage who aspires to be a chef play supporting roles in this kid-tickling, episodic narrative that mixes familiar and never-before-seen characters (a sausage that cooks?), plot twists and bustling watercolor and pencil art into a silly and satisfying stew. Ages 6-8.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A bear fancies himself a storybook hero, but an unidentified author places him in unsatisfying situations such as "Once upon a time there was a bear. The End." Frustrated, the bear takes over, writing--and delightfully fracturing--fairy tales familiar and outrageous. A penguin, princess, sausage, and four-and-twenty black bears also get opportunities for starring roles, as do the villainous troll, wolf, and dragon. After more adventures, heroics, and tasty treats, the satisfied bear is happily carried off to bed. This whimsical, charming book is filled with hilarious nonsequiturs and inventive plot twists with much kid appeal. Characters interact and converse with themselves and the reader, often interrupting the action to comment on the direction of events. Brightly colored, detailed illustrations provide apt accompaniment, placing the disparate characters in lively, chaotic scenarios with witty results. Surprises and absurdity abound in this sure-to-please, lighthearted read. Shelle Rosenfeld
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