Thursday, February 15, 2018

Beanstalker and other hilariously scary tales by Kiersten White, illustrated by Karl Kwasny

This was another choice for my October Book Explosion club meeting (genre - fantasy) which I did not have time to read. It turned out to be quite awesome, but not quite right for any of the kids who attended that meeting, so it's just as well nobody wanted it although there's still a chance it will get picked by a latecomer!

Apparently this was inspired by a series of tweets from the author, which I missed as I do not tweet. It's not quite fractured fairy tale fare, although very close, and it's a mix of gory, gruesome, and just gross. But it's also quite funny and I giggled all through it.

The story opens with Rapunzel in her tower and Prince Charming coming to save her. Only her "fair hair" isn't what he thinks it is and Prince Charming *cough* or Charring, has his own secrets.... following her stepmother, we visit another kingdom where everyone loves the sweet, charming, lovely, Snow White. They love her so much they prefer to wake at night, as she does, and everyone looks rather pale... When the stepmother sends her stepson Jack away, he winds up at a kingdom that is looking for a princess - and they decide to set a test with a pea in the bed. Except Jack never was good at spelling (or eating vegetables) and he leaves something quite different in the bed... not to mention the pease porridge...

So it continues, weaving in classic fairy tales, adding zombies, arsonists, and vampires, interspersed with rewritten nursery rhymes with quite a different meaning. Finally, just when the narrator is about to give up hope (along with the stepmother - yes, it's the same stepmother in all the stories) Jack manages to do something clever, for the first time in his life. Er, maybe. Maybe not. Yeah, definitely no sequel for this book...

Verdict: Recommend to readers who like Lubar's Weenie books or Gidwitz deliciously dark fairy tale fantasies. Just...don't eat the pease porridge. Ever.

ISBN: 9780545940603; Published 2017 by Scholastic; Borrowed from another library in my consoritum

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