Review Blog

Sep 28 2018

The prince and the witch and the thief and the bears by Alastair Chisholm

cover image

Ill. by Jez Tuya. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406365139
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Witches, Bears, Bed time story, Family, Bed time. Going to bed one night, Jamie is determined that tonight's story will be different. No more reading from a book, but a made-up story full of witches, and knights and bears and of course a prince and a thief to make it all the more interesting. So Dad decides, why not, and proceeds to make up a story, one that Jamies interrupts often with a particular slant that he wants included.
Dad starts off as all good bed time stories do, with "once upon a time" but from there, Jamie interrupts with questions and suggestions that Dad must include in his narrative. So the prince rides to the rescue of the princess in the tower, put there by the wicked witch. He must scale great cliffs with his horse on his back to succeed where others might fail, he must free the girl, and as the witch falls to her death, Jamie intercedes on her behalf and the story is changed again.
Readers will laugh out loud at the story as it goes meandering along with the changes that Jamie makes to make it more palatable, and include all the characters he wants to hear about. Readers will recognise many of the stock situations always fun in fairy tales but laugh when they are reversed, making the tale one of a kind. Kids will try this out for themselves, changing a tale well known into something different and including more characters, and like Jamie and his Dad, shelve some of them, in this case, the bears, for another night.
A funny tale full of interest and enhanced with the hilarious illustrations which flesh out the characters, enabling readers to link the story to the images. And the slant given to the witch will please many.
Fran Knight

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