Thursday, June 18, 2020

Review - Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs

Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs (Maynard Moose Tales)
by Willy Claflin
illustrated by James Stimson
Date: 2011
Publisher: August House
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 36
Format: e-book
Source: library

"Once upon a time, a long, long time ago..." So begins the story of... Rapunzel?... and The Seven, or Eight, or NINE Dwarfs?!? Hey, what's going on here??? Welcome to the slightly off-track world of Maynard Moose and the ancient Mother Moose tales. Willy Claflin channels and translates these tales for our entertainment and enlightenment--or maybe just to confuse us. Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs exemplifies the lesson in many of these stories "...That there ain't no moral to some stories at all."

Fractured English is translated in the glossary at the front. The cast of characters seems oddly familiar, while the plot is... well, plot is overrated. James Stimson's delightful digital artwork brilliantly renders the details that add wit and substance to every page. Enjoy!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I don't know how to rate this! On the one hand, I don't really condone fractured English and made-up words in children's picture books. On the other hand, the book is highly entertaining (especially when you listen to the audio).

This book is available with an accompanying CD (or, in the case of the e-book, accompanying narration) so readers can listen to Maynard Moose tell the story in his distinctive voice. That's the best way to experience this one, and I would definitely not recommend simply reading the book. Yes, there are footnotes that explain some of Maynard's unique moose terminology, but I fear that this could be confusing for beginning readers who might not get the joke. As an audio experience, however, I think this could work quite well.

The story is basically a mashup of a couple of fairy tales. It starts out with a spin on "Rapunzel", then moves into "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (except, in this case, "there were eight or nine seven dwarfs"). The story ends with exploitative capitalism and a number of hackneyed happy endings, but the whole thing is just so silly that it's a lot of fun. The pictures are a nice complement, too.

Despite being unsure if I was going to like this one, I was pleasantly surprised. Just make sure you're able to listen to the audio; that's half the fun right there!

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.67 out of 5

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