Fairy tales and fractured fairy tales always focus on the good guys (or reform the bad guys). Finally, here’s a sweet bedtime story featuring the baddies.
There is not a hint of menace in either Underwood’s gently rhyming verse or Kangas’ beautifully detailed watercolor-and–oil wash illustrations. “Sun dips down; the day has gone. / Witches, wolves, and giants yawn. / Queen and dragon, troll and gnome: / tired baddies head for home.” Home is a stone castle, where they catch up on news, share a meal together (using good manners—even baddies need a break from being bad), undress and unwind from the day, and tuck one another in. It is both refreshing and comforting to know that baddies, no matter how vile they may be during the day, are human (-ish) at heart and have the same needs, wants, and fears as readers (sometimes literally—Giant is afraid a princess might lurk under his bed). (All the humanoid characters are white.) From striped and flowered pajamas to troll’s bubble bath and the books so many of the baddies are clearly enjoying, this is familiar and sweet, unlike baddies’ usual reputations, and children will delight in picking out familiar props and characters from beloved tales.
Great for sharing with parents’ own baddies and fairy-tale lovers alike. (Picture book. 4-7)