Reviews for Undone Fairy Tale

Booklist Reviews 2006 January #1
K-Gr. 3. Lendler's first children's book is a fractured fairy tale of the silliest order. Things begin traditionally: a princess is locked in a tower, where she makes pies around the clock for a gluttonous king. Handsome knight Sir Wilbur arrives but must perform three tasks before he can rescue the princess. Then, the story's split occurs: a narrator wearing a bow tie explains that Ned, the man in charge of pictures, hasn't finished this page's illustration and has hastily substituted a doughnut for the king's crown. More problems ensue: Ned can't gather the knights' horses on time, so Sir Wilbur must use the props that the department has available--giant fish. The farce continues to the end as the text and images flip between the increasingly ridiculous fairy tale and the problems creating images behind the scenes. Two fonts distinguish between the story lines, and the wild, clever cartoons make the most of the gleeful absurdity. Suggest Kevin O'Malley's Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (2005) and David Wiesner's Caldecott Medal book The Three Pigs (2001) for more fractured fun. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Using the frame of a fairy tale about a princess imprisoned in a tower and two contrasting styles of cartoon illustration, the reader is admonished that the illustrator never has time to finish his pictures properly because the reader is turning pages too quickly. Though the slightly funny premise may amuse some, the one-note joke is carried on too long. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2005 September #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 October #3

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.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 December

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

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