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THE END by David LaRochelle Kirkus Star


by David LaRochelle & illustrated by Richard Egielski

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-439-64011-3
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Not to be confused with a recent Unfortunate Event of the same title, this funny, playful folklorish episode may be told front to back, but it’s actually laid out in reverse. LaRochelle opens with the old “Happily Ever After,” then retraces a sequence of linked, thoroughly daffy events that leads up to it. Egielski supplies plenty of visual juice, beginning with a packed crowd scene featuring a knight, a princess, a dragon, a huge tomato, two giants, a pair of smiling lemons, a swarm of rabbits, a blue flying pig and more. Then he proceeds to show how each of these elements figures in as the story winds backward, with many “because” explanations (“An enormous tomato was rolling down the hill because . . . ”), past the copyright page and title spread to a peaceful pre-title prelude. The reversed narrative, hilarious turn-of-the-page plot twists and bright, comical, precisely drawn art add up to an uncommonly clever outing that invites reading—in either direction. (Picture book. 6-8)