Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It Happens All the Time in Books

I love kids' books that incorporate kid-sized literary references! Here are two fairy tales that require the reader to remember other stories they've read in order to get the most out of the story at hand:

The Princess and the Pig
by Jonathan Emmett
illustrated by Poly Bernatene
Walker & Company, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

A poor farmer's tiny pig and a baby princess switch places (if by "switch places" you mean one gets dropped from a balcony into a cart of hay and the other gets sproinged from the cart of hay into the cradle on the balcony). "The king thought he knew what had happened. 'A bad fairy has done this,' he explained. 'The fairy wasn't invited to the princess's christening, so she's turned the baby into a piglet to get her revenge. It's the sort of thing that happens all the time in books.' " (He's holding a copy of Sleeping Beauty in the illustration just in case you don't get it...)

That refrain, "It's the sort of thing that happens all the time in books," occurs throughout the story as the pig grows up a princess and the princess grows up a farmer's daughter. There's a funny twist in the end that I won't spoil for you here!

Other reviews: Jen Robinson's Book Page, Fuse #8

Dog in Boots
by Greg Gormley
illustrated by Roberta Angaramo
Holiday House, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

Dog gets the idea that he'd like some boots from the storybook in his lap, "...a brilliant book, all about a cat who wore a pair of truly magnificent boots." You know the book, but in case you forgot, there it is in his lap.

Dog tries boots like Puss's, but they're not quite the right thing for digging in mud, so he takes them back to the shoe store. The accommodating shopkeeper trades the muddy boots for a pair of rain boots, and although those work fine for digging, they don't work too well when Dog goes for a swim. Over and over, Dog tries different footwear, only to discover in the end that his built-in footwear (his PAWS) are the best in every situation.

Tired and happy, Dog plops down in his big chair with another brilliant book. "This time it was about a girl who didn't wear any silly boots, but did wear... (text deliberately excluded...can you guess what she wore!?!?) 'Hmmm...,' thought Dog."

Other reviews: BooksForKidsBlog, A Random Hodgepodge of Bookishness

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