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The Endby David Larochelle
Synopses & Reviews
"...And they lived happily ever after."
So begins David LaRochelle and Richard Egielski's wacky original fairy tale The End, which traces the courtship and marriage of a handsome knight and a beautiful princess...backwards! Before we reach the beginning, we meet a temperamental giant, a beleaguered cook, a dragon who's scared of bunny rabbits, an oversized tomato, and an impish figure on a flying pig who just might be the cause of all the madness. It's a conventionally perfect and perfectly unconventional take on the fairy tale — guaranteed to convert the Grimmest reader to giggles.
"This reverse fairy tale begins with a wedding, a regal cast of fantasy characters and a parchment-colored banner with the requisite words 'And they all lived happily ever after.' Readers inevitably wonder how this happy ending came to be. Never fear: LaRochelle (The Best Pet of All) and Egielski (Jazper) provide a second banner that heralds, 'They lived happily ever after because...,' leading to a scene of 'the soggy knight' holding hands with the lovestruck princess. But how did the knight get soggy? And why are two giants, eleven rabbits and a scaly green dragon at the door? Subsequent 'because...' pages reveal, in backwards order, the events that led to 'The End.' When readers finally arrive at the title page, wordless endpapers show the lonesome princess in her garden. Readers then can rewind from back to front, to discover the machinations of an elfin cupid and his winged blue pig, who set the mischief in motion. LaRochelle keeps the plot simple, the better to trace the inverted order, and leaves the excitement (the dragon's fiery snort, the giant's temper tantrum, etc.) to the intertwining images. Egielski illustrates in buoyant hues of royal blue, scarlet, daffodil yellow and white, framing each spread with a knobby brown vine motif. He alludes to a deck of cards and to Caldecott's The Queen of Hearts with the diamonds and clubs on the royal wardrobes, and he gives timely visual hints to past and future moments in this nicely realized puzzle. Ages 4-8." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"As fun as it is handsome, this offering will be a hit at storytimes." Booklist
"The reversed narrative, hilarious turn-of-the-page plot twists and bright, comical, precisely drawn art add up to an uncommonly clever outing that invites reading-in either direction." Kirkus Reviews
"And they lived happily ever after." Usually that how a book ends. But it's the start of this topsy-turvy tale, which tumbles along with a princess and her lemonade, a sensitive dragon afraid of bunnies, a runaway tomato, and a mysterious bag of gold. Full color.
About the Author
David LaRochelle, a former elementary school teacher, is the author and illustrator of numerous picture books, including The Best Pet of All, a Children's Book Sense Top Ten selection and one of Child Magazine's Best Books of 2004. His latest book, Absolutely, Positively Not, is his first novel. It is the humorous look at the life of Steven DeNarski, a sixteen-year-old boy who doesn't know whether he will pass his driver's test or if he'll ever understand his parents. But there is one thing Steven knows for sure: He is absolutely, positively NOT gay.
David has also published puzzle books and books of family activities. His work has appeared in Cricket, Spider, and Cicada magazines. He illustrates the nationally syndicated newspaper column, Donna's Day.
When David is not writing, illustrating, or visiting schools as the author/illustrator-in-residence, he enjoys going to theater, entering contests, and orienteering. He also loves to carve pumpkins and his creations have been featured for several years on Good Morning America.
David LaRochelle lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
Richard Egielski received the 1987 Caldecott Medal for HEY, AL, story by Arthur Yorinks, and he has also illustrated texts by Pam Conrad, Margie Palatini, David LaRochelle, and Jonah Winter. The books he has both written and illustrated include BUZ and JAZPER, both named Best Illustrated Children's Books of the year by The New York Times.
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