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A picture book from Thrud's childhood. This is one of those collections of original fairy tales that people seem to like to do, and the four here are fairly predictable and have fairly obvious morals; if I see one more story about how it is just fine for birds to have dull grey feathers and we all only need to like ourselves I will shoot something, and the rest are of the same vein.

That said, there is one moment of pure awesome in this book that was entirely worth picking it up, and that was in the first story, 'King Cabbage', where you turn a page and without warning get a double-page spread of AN ARMY OF CABBAGES ADVANCING TO CONQUER THE WORLD. They have bayonets! And war hats with frightening high plumes! Their king is treading down a barbed-wire fence in his path and waving a saber, and the other vegetables cower before his might.

YOU ALL KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN SOMEDAY.

(Although I kind of always thought it would be drawn by Ursula Vernon.)

Anyhow, that worthy-of-hanging-on-the-wall picture aside, there's not much here, and what there is is in the details of the illos. The king in one story, for instance, is a lion (duh), and when we see him in the royal bedchamber he is sharing a bed with a suspiciously uncrowned sheep. A tree full of birds contains a bald eagle looking confusedly at the claw full of arrows it is clutching, having evidently just escaped from the U.S. Great Seal. The king lion's cousin, a panther, arrives in a camel whose hump hinges up to make a howdah like an elephant's. But while all this sort of thing will keep you from going stark raving if you have to read this to a four-year-old, it is not sufficient to make up for the thinness of the writing and the general story-shapes.

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rushthatspeaks

March 2017

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