Fairy-tale and nursery-rhyme characters work together to solve a mystery of disappearing belongings and missing children.
The story’s clever concept references that famous Old Woman who lived in a shoe, but here the woman lives in a book-shaped house on a bookshelf along with many other well-known children’s-story characters such as Jack and Jill and the Three Bears. The Old Woman is actually a busy mother of six with springy, gray hair and a lively demeanor. When she discovers her children are missing, she visits the other book houses on the shelf to ask for help. Each of the characters is missing something, and they all follow along as a group to search for their items and the children. The Big Bad Wolf is the culprit, predictably, and the children are found hiding from him in the branches of surrounding trees along with their father, the Old Man of “knick-knack paddywhack” fame. The characters celebrate at a concluding party with treats provided by the Wicked Witch from her candy-covered cottage. Bright, cartoon-style illustrations are filled with amusing details from all the nursery-rhyme and fairy-tale settings. Though the buoyant illustrations and plot move along in a sprightly fashion, however, the dialogue (conveyed in speech bubbles) is rather pedestrian. The Old Woman and her children present white; some of the other human characters seem to be diverse.
A fun-filled fractured-fairy-tale frolic. (Picture book. 3-7)