By Meg McKinlay, Illustrated by Leila Rudge
Candlewick Press, $15.99, 32 pages
This is a novel children’s book written by Meg McKinlay, and illustrated by Leila Ridge. It’s about a girl named Ella. Ella loves books but is tired of reading stories that are filled with bears. As she says, “I’m tired of bears. Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS…” So she designs a story with pretty things, a princess, a castle, a monster, and a giant. Oh, and also a fairy godmother with magical powers that might be needed to save the princess from the monster.
This 32-page Candlewick Press book is wonderfully illustrated, and throws in a lot of cool, sneaky references to well-known children’s tales (young readers will have fun discovering such things as the Owl and the Pussycat). It’s a great early reader because it includes such standard phrases as “Once upon a time”, “Happily ever after”, and “The End”. And it’s relaxing and unique especially because there are said to be NO BEARS in it. Not even one!
This book is for readers ages 3 and up, and a few bright 2-year-olds. Toddlers who love animals will appreciate it, especially as they find that there are actually a few lovable bears hidden in its pages.
Reviewed by Joseph Arellano