An Undone Fairy Tale

( 3 )


Now, Ned and I admire how well you read. But the story will be ruined if you turn the page right now.
So please don't.
A beautiful pie-making princess is trapped in a tower. Can Sir Wilbur rescue her? And more importantly, can he do it while wearing a tutu? He's going to try! But if you read the story too quickly, Ned won't be able to make the pictures or costumes in time. And happily-ever-after may start to ...

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Now, Ned and I admire how well you read. But the story will be ruined if you turn the page right now.
So please don't.
A beautiful pie-making princess is trapped in a tower. Can Sir Wilbur rescue her? And more importantly, can he do it while wearing a tutu? He's going to try! But if you read the story too quickly, Ned won't be able to make the pictures or costumes in time. And happily-ever-after may start to go a bit haywire.
Join Ian Lendler and Whitney Martin for a fairy tale that takes off into hilarious uncharted territory — all because you won't slow down!

When it's illustrator cannot keep up with its reader, a story about shelfish; pie loving king takes numerous silly detours.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debut children's author Lendler begins his story in traditional fairytale mode, with a beautiful princess (with a talent for pie-making) locked in a tower, while each knight seeking her hand in marriage fails to perform "three dangerous tasks" set by the king, her stepfather (he wants the pies to himself). When muscular Sir Wilbur arrives at the castle to save the princess, the plot twists: Lendler and artist Martin (Let George Do It!) introduce, on the edge of the spread, a short, balding bow-tied man, the narrator, as well as tall, thin, paintbrush-wielding Ned, "who's making all the pictures for this story." Henceforth, the narrator repeatedly interrupts the princess-Sir Wilbur narrative to accuse readers of turning pages too quickly, thus precipitating last-minute alterations to the story. Plot and illustrations become increasingly surreal, as when, in lieu of a dragon (who's "still in the shower. He didn't think he'd be needed this soon"), Sir Wilbur fights a giant pretzel, and the princess, having freed herself, harnesses a snail and leads a troop of monkey-knights into battle. The sense of urgency grows ("Stop. Stop. Right. Now. I refuse to let you turn this page") and Ned eventually quits in frustration, necessitating makeshift artwork by the narrator who manages to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. This slapstick, madcap adventure will tickle many funny bones while offering readers a delightful (albeit deceptive) sense of control. Ages 6-10. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Lendler tweaks the traditional fairy tale and turns it on its ear, interrupting the story to show us Ned, the supposed illustrator, trying to complete the pictures as we read. On each double page—as the heroic traditional tale of the imprisoned princess and the brave knight who comes to rescue her continues in florid type—our dumpy, middle-aged narrator advises us in plain type not to turn the page, since Ned cannot paint fast enough. The story becomes ever zanier as the frantic painter can provide only tutus for the knights and fish for their mounts when Sir Wilbur leads them to confront the traditional dragon. Again we have read too fast, for the dragon is still in the shower, and the ridiculous battle is fought against what is available—a pretzel. And so the story grows ever wilder, leading to an incredibly absurd, but very funny, happy ending. The twin tales of the heroic quest and the painter and his illustrations contain all kinds of odd details that add visual fun. The cartoony characters are sometimes set in traditionally painted scenes, but there is generally a frenzied interplay of pictures and text producing a delightful slapstick adventure. 2005, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-In this nonsensical tale, a gluttonous king imprisons his stepdaughter in a tower so that she can bake pies only for him. Although many knights try to rescue her, none are able to accomplish the three difficult tasks set by the monarch. As Sir Wilbur-the "most famous knight around"-appears on the scene, the action is interrupted. Ned, the book's supposed illustrator, is introduced. A tiny man sitting on a board suspended by ropes, he rushes to finish painting the larger-than-life spread. Meanwhile, another man, the narrator, begs readers to slow down so that the work can be completed. While the fairy tale is illustrated with fluid watercolor-and-gouache cartoons, the two men are depicted in a simpler, more angular style, and the narrator's numerous comments are presented in a more workmanlike font. Unable to keep up, the story's creators improvise with what they have on hand, resulting in a hero who wears a tutu, an army of pickles, and a princess who saves her man while riding a snail and brandishing a banana. Although the approach is unique, the joke soon wears thin, as the narrator continually admonishes readers ("Why do you keep turning the page?" or "Look, we're trying to tell a good story, but you're reading too fast"). Not only is the plot less than successful, but the ending is also abrupt.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An ordinary fairy tale (pie-baking princess locked in tall tower, knights must perform feats to win her hand from fat stepfather king) is made extraordinary as Ned, the illustrator, and an unnamed narrator attempt to get readers to slow down so they can finish the pictures. Unfortunately, readers are uncooperative. What results is a comedy worthy of Monty Python fans. Sir Wilbur's first task is to slay a dragon . . . but Ned does not have the horses or armor ready, so he must ride a fish and wear a pink tutu-the only props available. One disaster follows another as readers refuse to follow the narrator's directions, differentiated from the text by a font change. In the final showdown the snail-riding princess, who has rescued herself, leads an army of fish-riding, banana-wielding monkeys, the king rides out to greet her with an army of pickles and the beleaguered Ned finally quits. Martin's illustrations are perfect, mixing the two simultaneous tales until their edges are indistinguishable. The spot-on renderings of Ned and the narrator's facial expressions only add to the slapstick. Tremendously clever and hysterically funny. (Picture book. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689866777
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 315,674
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Lendler was born and is now mostly grown-up, depending on whom you ask. He spends his days writing, and his nights erasing what he's written. He currently lives in a shoe in Manhattan. This is his first children's book. He hopes you enjoy it.

Whitney Martin is the illustrator of George Foreman's picture book, Let George Do It! He has spent the last ten years working in animation for Disney feature films and Fox TV's King of the Hill. Whitney's illustrations have been featured in magazines, galleries, and cable television shows. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife and two sons.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2012

    This is all three of my daughter's absolute favorite book. We re

    This is all three of my daughter's absolute favorite book. We read this at least once a week together. By far the best Children's book out there! I only wish Mr Lender had more like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2005

    Storytime Audiences Will Giggle Uncontrollably

    I recently head the pleasure of reading this book to the children who showed up for the weekly story hour at the bookstore in which I work. I love this book for it's ridiculous style. The narrator hasn't completed the tale yet, you see, so he keeps insisting that you do not turn the page. But you do, and because you have rushed him, silly things happen. For example, instead of a crown, the king has a donut on his head. The kids loved it. The giggled wildly and also started asking lots of questions, which is a good sign. I'd reccomend it to teachers and parents alike, and the book is enjoyable for both boys and girls.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2005

    More Than George

    Depite the bad press on celeb picture books, I like the art on the George Foreman a lot. Or more importantly, my kid did. This is the same illustrator so I bought it. The George book was funny, but this one's brilliant! It reminded me of that old Sesame street book A Monster At The End of The Book. My kids got to turn the pages and loved the fact that they were causing chaos in the story as they did so. Every page manages to have a different joke. This book's a definite two thumbs up.

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