Talking of fairytales, as I was a few days ago, half the fun of them is in the retelling and reworking. Don’t Read this Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright (Egmont, 2009) is a variation on the story of the Princess and the Pea, but the king is bursting out of the front cover to order you not to read it…
Why not? Because the story isn’t ready. The chief story writer has lost it, but someone (“Yes, I do mean YOU!”) has already started reading. This marks the start of a race against time to find the notes, gather the characters and get the story told before the end of the book. Finally everything is assembled and there is just space to squeeze in
on the last line.
The inversion of the story is very well done and the illustrations are brilliant – playful, quirky and colourful. The king is constantly bellowing at you, the reader, not to turn the page or he’ll fling you in the dungeon, which makes for fun reading and gives lots of scope for overacting and silly voices, although possibly not just before bed if you like your bedtime stories calming.
I’m not sure that it’s still in print – our copy leapt out of a charity shop shelf at us – but if not, it ought to be. If you can get it from the library or a secondhand copy, I’d highly recommend it.