From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3–In this nonsensical tale, a gluttonous king imprisons his stepdaughter in a tower so that she can bake pies only for him. Although many knights try to rescue her, none are able to accomplish the three difficult tasks set by the monarch. As Sir Wilbur–the most famous knight around–appears on the scene, the action is interrupted. Ned, the book's supposed illustrator, is introduced. A tiny man sitting on a board suspended by ropes, he rushes to finish painting the larger-than-life spread. Meanwhile, another man, the narrator, begs readers to slow down so that the work can be completed. While the fairy tale is illustrated with fluid watercolor-and-gouache cartoons, the two men are depicted in a simpler, more angular style, and the narrator's numerous comments are presented in a more workmanlike font. Unable to keep up, the story's creators improvise with what they have on hand, resulting in a hero who wears a tutu, an army of pickles, and a princess who saves her man while riding a snail and brandishing a banana. Although the approach is unique, the joke soon wears thin, as the narrator continually admonishes readers (Why do you keep turning the page? or Look, we're trying to tell a good story, but you're reading too fast). Not only is the plot less than successful, but the ending is also abrupt.–Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
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K-Gr. 3. Lendler's first children's book is a fractured fairy tale of the silliest order. Things begin traditionally: a princess is locked in a tower, where she makes pies around the clock for a gluttonous king. Handsome knight Sir Wilbur arrives but must perform three tasks before he can rescue the princess. Then, the story's split occurs: a narrator wearing a bow tie explains that Ned, the man in charge of pictures, hasn't finished this page's illustration and has hastily substituted a doughnut for the king's crown. More problems ensue: Ned can't gather the knights' horses on time, so Sir Wilbur must use the props that the department has available--giant fish. The farce continues to the end as the text and images flip between the increasingly ridiculous fairy tale and the problems creating images behind the scenes. Two fonts distinguish between the story lines, and the wild, clever cartoons make the most of the gleeful absurdity. Suggest Kevin O'Malley's Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude
(2005) and David Wiesner's Caldecott Medal book The Three Pigs
(2001) for more fractured fun. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved