Books & Literature

Book Review: The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears, by Alastair Chisholm

A picture book for ages 3+ about young Jamie, who wants a made-up bedtime story from his dad with a prince, a bear and a witch, but he constantly interrupts with questions.

This is author Alastair Chisholm’s first picture book following successful puzzle books for kids. New Zealand based illustrator Jez Tuya specialises in character creation and children’s picture books. Their collaboration on this wonderful fairy tale has produced a book which both adults and children will enjoy.

Tonight young Jamie wants a made-up bedtime story from his dad with a prince, a bear and a witch – and more bears! Dad has barely got going when Jamie starts asking questions: How far away was the Far Off Kingdom? How fierce were the bears? And then, if the bears were so very fierce, how did the Prince manage to get past them? Dad does some quick thinking and sets the tale on the top of Mount ReeliReelitol.

From here on the story has more delightful twists and turns, usually prompted by Jamie’s interventions and suggestions which may inspire some readers to try their hand at making up their own bedtime stories for their little ones. The twist on the usual Princess fairy tale is appreciated by Jamie as it will no doubt be by modern moms and daughters. Imagination runs riot in the book with the Witch’s evil eye capable of turning you into jelly!

I like the way the font style changes between Jamie’s and his Dad’s dialogue. For beginning readers this might serve as a good clue for who is speaking. Jez Tuya’s illustrations are created digitally and have a cartoon like style with lots of bright colours which will appeal to young kids. They are also very funny with the bears working really hard to look fierce and “the disgusting hideous Castle Broccoli”, colour matching the Witch in all her green glory.

The age range of the book is 3 and up and I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Rating out of 10:  9

Distributed by: Walker Books Australia
Released: September 2018
RRP: $24.99

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