Kermit the Frog clued us all in when he said, "It's not easy being green." Well, it's not easy being a baddie either. Imagine having to huff and puff and blow houses down all day long. Wouldn't it get tiring after a while? What if kids climbed beanstalks up to your house and stole all your best possessions? That would have to be aggravating in the extreme. So what do the baddies in all these tales do at the end of a long day being mean or evil? They go home and rest up for the next day, of course.
This book doesn't waste any time getting started. The title page shows the Big Bad Wolf leaning against a tree near the third little pig's house and yawning rather than huffing and puffing. The copyright page shows the giant working up quite a sweat as he chases Jack (whose arms are full of goose). So readers can see right away that these baddies have worked hard and are ready for their day to end. As the text starts, we can see all these characters heading for a slightly crumbly looking castle, many of them stretching or yawning along the way. the rhyming text takes us through an evening of baddies greeting each other, asking how the day went, and being surprisingly polite. After baths are taken and teeth are brushed, they tuck themselves and each other in for a good night's rest with a wish of "Sour Dreams!"
There is so much visual humor worked in to support the story. While the wicked queen changes out of her gown and into her pajamas, the magic mirror on the wall is already asleep. The troll soaks in a bubble bath with bunny slippers nearby (after all, castle floors are cold). Young readers will laugh to see the giant asking for someone to check under the bed before he goes to sleep (even giants can have fears). Each time the story is read, more and more details will be discovered.
It would be wonderful to read this along with a fairy tale unit and have the kids pick out which story each baddie belongs to, or to think of other baddies that might live in this castle but weren't shown in the illustrations. Maybe readers can even make their own illustrations of other scenes to extend the book.
Highly recommended for fairy tale lovers and elementary school classrooms and libraries. Please visit Curious City DPW for a story hour kit to accompany the book.
* Update - 08/01/2016 We have added this title to the Fairview Library.
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