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A Medieval Fable

by Jean Gralley & illustrated by Jean Gralley

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-6329-5
Publisher: Henry Holt

King Yonderfel was once revered for his generous spirit; he beckoned all travelers to visit until his castle overflowed with guests. When his landlord, Ogre Guy, takes half of the castle’s mountain, the lopsided residence causes the freeloaders to leave in haste. As a tumultuous storm passes through the village, the king’s newfound hobby—knitting towels—saves his people. Irreverent asides bring forth the conversational voice; outrageous insults convey outlandish humor. Speech bubbles utilize varied fonts to develop further context within the flippant narrative. When the castle crumbles, the ungrateful inhabitants cry, “Woe is us! / This is what comes of / having a cabbage-headed- / addle-brained- / foozle-noodled- / nicombooby for a King!!!” Purposeful page breaks provide natural pauses, advancing the breezy tale. Thin borders contain varied angles on clean backgrounds; swirling lines successfully portray the shifting tone as the imposing storm threatens the town’s residents. Object placement varies on each spread; the brief use of panels highlights each wry moment. The result is a dry twist on a universal truth: Truly, no good deed goes unpunished. (Picture book. 5-9)