A storyteller spins a tale of her own devising—while the pictures tell a somewhat different one.
“I’m tired of bears. Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS,” grumps the young narrator. Claiming that you don’t need them, she proceeds to craft a story about a monster who sets out to steal a princess and is ultimately foiled by a fairy godmother. Fair enough—but as is evident from the episode’s first page on, the godmother hovering watchfully just beyond the edges of each scene is unmistakably ursine. Framed as ring-bound notebook pages, Rudge’s pale, fine-lined illustrations feature a comfy royal family and a not-very-scary monster that resembles a misshapen, rubber limbed frog. There are also an owl and a pussycat, three pigs, gingerbread men, a girl in a red hood and assorted other familiar figures looking on with increasing puzzlement as the narrator resolutely ignores the elephant—or in this case, the bear—in the room, even after she reaches a “happy ever after.”
Young fans of David Wiesner’s Three Pigs (2001) and other metafictive romps will be properly amused. (Picture book. 6-8)