Laugh-out-loud potty humor.
Gormley’s story mines fairy-tale tropes as well as toilet humor to deliver laughs. It opens with Prince Freddie on holiday, sunbathing and drinking lemonade. His talking horse, Sir Rushington, interrupts his vacation to tell the prince a dragon is laying siege to Castle Crumbly. After Freddie “gulp[s] down the very last drop of his lemonade,” they’re off! Alas, the horse’s “Up and down. Up and down. Up and down” trot, not to mention the bodies of water, a waterfall, and rain that Mould illustrates in his uproarious acrylic illustrations, soon make the armor-clad Freddie painfully aware of his full bladder. Repeated pit stops for him to relieve himself are interrupted by a terrifying ogre, a princess in a tower (“How very awkward,” sympathizes Sir Rushington), and a very long bathroom line formed by the Big Bad Wolf, Puss in Boots, and the Seven Dwarfs. (Adult female caregivers will note the irony that every single person in this line is implied male.) When they finally arrive at Castle Crumbly, Prince Freddie is so desperate that he plows right by the dragon, who sets the castle ablaze. Luckily, Prince Freddie eschews the throne room and stands atop a turret instead, well-positioned to douse the flames below: “And suddenly there was an almighty sizzle.” Freddie and all other humanoids save the green ogre are white.
Hap-pee-ly–ever-after reading fun. (Picture book. 3-8)