The Prince's New Pet

The Prince's New Pet

by Brian Anderson
     
 

The Prince's birthday was just like every other day in his father's kingdom-drab, gloomy, and completely colorless. Years ago the Prince's father had banned all color from the kingdom, so the Prince now received the same gray gifts wrapped in the same gray paper and ate the same gray birthday cake, while outside gray skies loomed. But when a special package arrives

Overview

The Prince's birthday was just like every other day in his father's kingdom-drab, gloomy, and completely colorless. Years ago the Prince's father had banned all color from the kingdom, so the Prince now received the same gray gifts wrapped in the same gray paper and ate the same gray birthday cake, while outside gray skies loomed. But when a special package arrives at his party, the Prince is surprised to see a very unusual creature emerge. Will his new pet bring a splash of color to the kingdom?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Anderson’s graphic novel/picture book hybrid features a dank prison, a gigantic explosion, and a mysterious multicolored creature no one’s ever seen before. Young Prince Viridian’s fight to restore color to his father’s all-gray kingdom pits him against a villainous “royal color catcher” who patrols the kingdom with a net and a bicycle-powered dirigible. Allied with the prince are the imprisoned royal court painter, Murialis Mayhew, and a furry, rainbow-hued “wooglefoof,” which arrives by parachute, for reasons that remain unclear, at Prince Viridian’s dreary birthday party (the prince’s cake is “eight layers of gray cake smeared with gray frosting without a single candle”). Anderson (Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps) channels Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster with a dollop of Roald Dahl, cranking up the tension with moment-by-moment panel sequences, particularly in the climactic events that have the prince and color catcher teetering on the edge of an abyss. Though the ending comes off a bit contrived, it’s easy to imagine older siblings being drawn into a read-aloud session—and then spiriting the book away to inspect the artwork. Ages 4–8. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

“With delightfully glum artwork, some bounding action (helped by a few comics-style compositions), a few sincerely scary moments, and a wooglefoof that's so feisty and adorable that kids will want to snuggle him right off the pages, this picture book strikes an appealing Tim Burtonesque chord of dark deviousness and wide-eyed wonder.” —Booklist

“A furry, colorful creature brings life to a black-and-white, Edward Gorey-esque kingdom. After reading, invite students to create their own monochromatic tales.” —Scholastic Instructor

“Anderson (Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps) channels Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster with a dollop of Roald Dahl, cranking up the tension with moment-by-moment panel sequences, particularly in the climactic events that have the prince and color catcher teetering on the edge of an abyss. ” —Publishers Weekly

“Careful readers will chuckle at the wordplay. They may also wonder who sent the package to the prince in the first place, and they will cheer when happiness is restored in the kingdom. Long live the wooglefoof!” —School Library Journal

“Creepy, kooky and deftly delivered, this dark story offers a bright ending for readers who might think they've just outgrown fairy tales.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Prince Viridian faces gray gloom everywhere on his birthday. When his mother, who loved bright colors, died on his second birthday, his father King Cerulean banned all color throughout the kingdom. The birthday gifts are wrapped in gray; even his cake and icing are gray. All are shocked at the sudden arrival of a chest labeled "Danger! Wooglefoof," from which springs "something wonderful." Amid the gray, the emerging brightly colored creature surprises everyone. The king orders his royal color catcher to remove the animal. The wooglefoof leads the catcher on a wild chase around the castle, escaping down a manhole. The disappointed prince swears that when he is king, he will change the rules. The catcher, however, wants to be sure that the prince will never be king. A friendly spider leads the prince to the wooglefoof hiding in the dungeon with the color-loving court painter. A confrontation with the catcher leads to a magical happy ending. We get a hint of the story on the jacket, where the gray interior is surprised by a multicolored animal tail. On the beginning and end pages, smokestacks spew gray smoke into the gray sky. The setting is a typical stone castle; the characters are sketchily stylized. Scenes are composed in a variety of rectangles filled with action. A colorful happy blast complete with rainbow concludes the tale. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Queen Perylene loved color and her kingdom was awash with it. When she died, her brokenhearted husband banned it because it reminded him too much of her. The kingdom is now gray and sad, and young Prince Viridian hates what it has become. On his birthday, as he sits eating a piece of gray cake, a gift floats down on a parachute and plops in the palace courtyard. To everyone's surprise, a creature like no other leaps out of the sealed box. The soft and fluffy wooglefoof is every color of the rainbow. He is just what the prince longs for. The evil royal color catcher snatches up the creature and tosses him into the dungeon, and the prince soon follows. All's well that ends well when the villain inadvertently causes an explosion of color. Fans of Tim Burton's films will love the stylized artwork and the oh-so-dreary palette. To keep it visually interesting, Anderson plays with the design by adding insets that pop off the page despite the shared palette. Names like His Royal Grayness, the Baroness of Blah, and the Duchess of Humdrum contrast with King Cerulean and Prince Viridian. Careful readers will chuckle at the wordplay. They may also wonder who sent the package to the prince in the first place, and they will cheer when happiness is restored in the kingdom. Long live the wooglefoof!—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
When the Queen died and her bereft king banished color from the kingdom, Prince Viridian's world turned the gloomiest gray. A mysterious present (a cute, colorful creature called a wooglefoof) crashes his birthday party and changes all that, spiriting its garish stripes across the castle and sending the king's Color Snatcher in fiendish, feverish pursuit. Scratchy, black ink drawings deliver wobbly, warped perspectives over undulating gray backdrops, punctuated with pop-eyed expressions and swift action. The wooglefoof's vivid fur clashes brilliantly with fine black linework and murky gray fog, propelling readers onward. Expert paneling unfailingly energizes and advances the story as well, creating a pace that leaves you panting. The sinister Color Snatcher's jagged cheekbones, sharp nose and supremely str-e-etch-ed smile raises goosebumps, while the wooglefoof's fluffy rainbow tail, googly eyes and spastic sprints deliver laughs. In Anderson's giddily dark world, where Tim Burton or Edward Gorey might happily put up their feet, the comic and ridiculous teeter alongside the horrid and beastly. Sophisticated language and frightening chase scenes broaden this book's appeal to older readers, who might start touting joyful flamboyance over ascetic boredom. Creepy, kooky and deftly delivered, this dark story offers a bright ending for readers who might think they've just outgrown fairy tales. (Picture book. 5-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596433571
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
12/06/2011
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
11.20(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Brian Anderson is the author and illustrator of the Roaring Brook Press title, Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps, as well as the creator of the runaway-hit comic strip, Dog eat Doug, which he began in 2004 as a webcomic and now appears in over 150 newspapers and is read by millions. He lives in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

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