WAIT! NO PAINT! by Bruce Whatley
Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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Poor pigs! Not only do the Three Little Pigs have to contend with their old nemesis the Big Bad Wolf in the third visit this year, they also find themselves at the mercy of The Illustrator. The first inkling that all is not well comes when a mysterious Voice from nowhere spills juice all over the first little pig’s straw house: a dismayed pig stares down at his house, which is partially obscured by an orange puddle and an overturned glass. The illustrator is an equal-opportunity meddler, giving the first and second little pigs time to escape to their brother’s house by redrawing the wolf’s nose. But the real problems start when the illustrator informs the pigs that they have all gone pale because he has run out of red paint—a squeezed-out tube of red paint appears on the corner of the page as corroborating evidence. The interplay between the infuriated and befuddled characters and the illustrator continues, with the pigs and the other elements of their story drawn as cartoons and the illustrator’s paints and other artifacts appearing realistically on top of the plane of the page. This sort of self-conscious recognition of the artifice behind a picture book is nothing new; recent examples include Chris Van Allsburg’s A Bad Day at Riverbend (1996) and Jackie French Koller’s One Monkey Too Many (1999)—not to mention I Love Going Through this Book, by Robert Burleigh (see above). By setting this concept within such a familiar tale heightens the artifice, Whatley (Captain Pajamas, not reviewed) allows children to explore it on one level while enjoying a fractured fairy tale on another. It’s a sophisticated concept, though—use it with children who are beginning to understand what an illustrator is, and pair it with Janet Stevens’s From Pictures to Words (1995) for a thorough treatment. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 30th, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-028270-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2001


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