It’s Not the Three Little Pigs (Josh Funk)

Hello, friends! Our book today is It’s Not the Three Little Pigs, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Edwardian Taylor, fourth in the author-illustrator pair’s series of whimsically fractured fairy tales.

Once upon a time, there were three little pigs: Alan, Alfred, and Alvin… and their sister, Allison. Wait, does that make FOUR little pigs? Allison, a natural storyteller and obvious expert on her three brothers, insists on tagging along to help to tell their story, much to the consternation of the narrator. In fact, all of the pig siblings don’t seem to want to stick to the well-known version of their tale, preferring to be themselves and do things their own way. But when the narrator is at their wit’s end, Allison offers some food for thought: perhaps collaboration and cooperation can produce great things, even if they don’t turn out exactly like you plan.

Delightful. Once again, Funk and Taylor mix some perfectly absurd humor – brother Alvin’s simple aspirations are especially chuckle-worthy – with fast-paced humor and a good lesson for young readers to give them a new way to experience beloved classic stories. Despite having seven different speakers, color-coded dialogue in varying fonts makes it very easy to follow to the rapid-fire conversations. Taylor’s illustrations are bright, colorful, cartoonish yet cinematic, and very engaging. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ thought this one was “very, very funny!” Overall, a wonderful twist on an old favorite, and well worth the read – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Goldibooks and the Wee Bear (Troy Wilson)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Goldibooks and the Wee Bear, written by Troy Wilson and illustrated by Edwardian Taylor, a humorous fractured fairy tale about the how reading can bring families together.

Goldibooks, a young bibliophile, lives in the woods with her mother and father; all three family members love to read, and each has their own special bookshelf and reading chair. One day, while walking through the woods, Goldibooks spots a wee bear, and her parents warn her not to approach, as Mama and Papa bears can be very defense of their young. Little do they know, Wee Bear had purposely wandered away from his parents to seek something, ANYTHING to read! Stumbling upon the family’s empty cottage, he is shocked to find three bookshelves filled with books! Some are too hard, and some too soft, but the littlest bookshelf’s offerings are juuust right. He finds the same to be true of the reading chairs, and well as the beds when he lies down for the pre-nap story. When Goldibooks and her parents return home, they’re in for a surprise… especially when ANOTHER mom and dad come looking for their wee one as well!

Very cute! An entertaining flip on a classic tale, this lighthearted story takes the familiar and infuses it with humor, as well as a great message about the joy of books and reading. Eventually, Goldibooks’s family shares their library with the bear family, even growing their book club to the entire fairy tale neighborhood by the final page. Taylor’s exaggerated, cartoonish illustrations are colorful and expressive, striking a nice balance of old-fashioned settings and costumes done in a modern, eye-catching style. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ absolutely loved this one, especially the comedy and repetition. Overall, a delightful tale to get little bookworms excited about reading, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

It’s Not Hansel and Gretel (Josh Funk)

Hello, friends! Our book today is It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Edwardian Taylor, a hilariously fractured twist on the original fairy tale.

As the narrator of Hansel and Gretel’s tale opens the scene, he is immediately distracted by the presence of Jack (of “and the Beanstalk”, and the protagonist of the book’s prequel). Shooing Jack back to his own story, the narrator begins the familiar tale: in a time of great famine, Hansel and Gretel’s parents plot to abandon them in the woods – except Gretel immediately interrupts to disagree with this notion, adamant that their parents would never do such a thing. This becomes the running theme, as the siblings push back against the increasingly frustrated narrator, refusing to follow the story laid out for them. Gretel is particularly fed up with the traditional gender roles, questioning why it can’t be “Gretel and Hansel”, and why her brother gets to eat treats in the candy cage while she has to do chores in the witch’s gingerbread house. Even when the narrator proves to be right – the siblings eventually concede that maybe the witch WASN’T just a nice old lady – their refusal to follow direction spurs the exasperated narrator to give up control of the story… and that’s when the real fun begins.

Delightfully goofy. The effect will work best on kids who are familiar with the original fairy tale, but this rollicking tale is chock full of so much snappy dialogue, colorful visuals, and wonderfully kid-friendly humor that it’s worth it to brush up on the Grimms’s version. The layout of the different texts for character speech, traditional narration, and the narrator’s outbursts is a nice touch – reading this one aloud is a challenge but an entertaining one (brush up on your character voices, this one is rife with opportunities). The cameos from other fairy tale notables are also a fun feature for eagle-eyed bookworms, the length is perfect, and JJ and I had a blast reading it. Perfect for lovers of silly humor, and emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)