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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker, by Jessica Ahlberg. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2015. $21.00 ages 5 and up

"Where are we?" asked Lucy.
She saw a broken chair,
three bowls of porridge,
and a little golden-haired
"OH!" said Lucy.
"I know where we are."
"This is the Three Bears'
cottage," said Goldilocks."

Jessica Ahlberg is brilliantly following in the footsteps of her much admired parents. Using a gentle humor and her vast knowledge of fairy tales, she has created a lovely book that is sure to please young readers who have had some advance encounters with the tales  presented here.

It all begins with Lucy reading to her very distracted puppy, Mr.Barker. Off he goes after a butterfly and into house after house in hot pursuit. Cutout door and windows invite them to move from story to story, following the action as Lucy keeps up a merry chase. One house has a girl with golden hair eating porridge, the next is a house made of straw, and the next one makes visitors feel very small, and finally, a castle. Luckily, Lucy knows has a notion about where they are each time they enter a new abode. She has obviously listened to many fairy tales, too!

Their new friends are threatened by angry bears, a menacing wolf, a giant and an evil fairy. Lucy knows where they will be safe and content. Off they go. A sleepover and a good story are just the ticket for helping everyone calm down.

Please take all the time needed to note the many wonderful details Ms. Ahlberg sprinkles on each of this delightful book's pages. There is so much to see! If you are reading with children who have little earlier experience with the included fairy tales, it's the perfect time to find a copy of each to share.

What a world of delight she has created!

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