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Monday, September 6, 2010

"The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed" by Pat Rothfuss Illustrated by Nate Taylor (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Pat Rothfuss' Official Website Here
Order The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle from Amazon Here

Overview/Analysis: Don't let the cover fool you. This is NOT a children's picture book. While the size and drawings may make you believe that that is what you are getting yourself into. It isn't at all.

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle tell a tale of a little princess who lives alone in a castle made of marzipan. Her best friend is her stuffed teddy bear, Mr. Whiffle. These two do everything together and readers get a glimpse of that within the first part of the story.

The unique aspect of this book is that it "ends" three different times. The first section of the book will leave readers with a sugary sweet ending, the middle one is a little sad and the last ending is the one that makes it clear that this book was NOT a children's book. Where you leave the story off is up to you. Readers can read one, read two or all three and get a complete story each time that they read the story.

As an avid fan of teddy bears, children's stories and anything out of the ordinary. After I had been shown the preview pictures that were released last year I felt this book could have been written for myself. I was eager to see what The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle held.

The book is a very quick read with only a dozen or so words per page at the most. It stands at 72 pages and most are full page pictures that spread over a single page or both pages.

While this story is definitely not one I'd read to the normal picture book audience, I believe that it would be fine for an "older" child who is okay with a bit of a sinister dark side to stories. For the adults, this book takes us back to our childhood a little but this time it shows a sinister side that picture books didn't have. There are essentially two readers that will enjoy this book. Adults and older children. I think some teens might not understand the big deal behind the book and younger children will be a bit scared, too little to understand it.

Personally I enjoyed the story. As stated it holds all the elements that I hold near and dear to my heart. With that aside, I think a lot of readers might be very very disappointed in the book. Why? There was so much hype to this book and I just don't believe that it really lives up to that hype. There are very very few words to the book, the story is over before it began. Those that have children might enjoy reading this out loud and seeing their expression as you read the book outloud but for some adults it might be a bit disappointing.

While the story is quick and a bit short the real gem within this book are the pictures by Nate Taylor. I've read this book a half dozen times and each time I find myself looking over the pictures and just loving them. There are tiny little details that I didn't see the first or second time I read it. These pictures are what saves this book.

Overall, this picture book for adults/older readers will be a hit or miss book. It'll depend on what your expectations are going into the book. If you're looking for an adult story with pictures and details, you won't find it here. If you're looking for a quick fun read that you can occasionally pull out on rainy days, then you'll enjoy this book.


mythusmage said...

You'd think the girl's maniacal grin would clue people in. :)

redhead said...

Yes, this book is already getting super hyped, and it's fun and sugary sweet and creepy and matter of fact. . . and probably doesn't deserve the hype.

But still, I'm very happy I splurged on it.

I was hanging out with a friend who has small children the other night, and when the kids requested a cheesy barbie fairy bedtime story, I really wanted to tell them the first ending of Princess and Mr Whiffle from memory! (you know the one that ends all happy and giggly?)

Derrick said...

THIS is what Rothfuss has been spending his time on? Where are the next 2 books in the KingKiller series?

mythusmage said...


To quote an old song line, "Can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."

Cindy said...

As I said this book is going to be hit or miss. There are going to be people that are thinking "Wow this is a great book" people that say "Wow This was a waste" and then there are the people that are indifferent and say "Well it was alright I don't see the hype".

Mythusmage: You'd think the crazy grin would be. But people are going to read about a girl who is best friends with a bear and just think it's a kids book.

Redhead: Glad you enjoyed it! I would have brought this type of book if it was written by Joe Nobody. :). And the first part I know by heart also ;)

Derrick: I believe he isn't "spending" his time on this. He said in an interview this story was from a few years back so I"m assuming he's still working on the other series instead ;)

Derrick said...

When "Name of the Wind" came out, back in 2007, I was under the impression that Rothfuss had the whole story worked out, [from all his bally hoo'ing about how he knew it was just one story broken up into 3 parts, etc, etc].

I'd kept up with his blog, hoping to see things moving forward. What I kept reading, time after time after time, were excuses about how difficult editing and publishing were, how we the readers just didn't understand, blah blah blah.

So yes, I'm bitter. I LIKED Name of the Wind, a lot. and I feel used and abused by Rothfuss's attitudes. So when I see a different book being put out, when I was led to believe that the King Killer trilogy was going to be a book a year [and here it is, 3 years later before book 2], then yes, I resent that book, the effort put into it, the author himself.

sorry you all got the brunt of this :-)

Liviu said...

Many people took Mr. Rothfuss at his word and I regret his misrepresentation of the truth too, though to be fair sometimes what an unpublished author feels is a finished book and what the editing process requires are very different things, so it may have been simple over-optimism.

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