Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Once Upon a Time, The End (asleep in 60 seconds)

Once Upon a Time, The End (asleep in 60 seconds)

Fall 2005 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Geoffrey Kloske
Illustrator: Barry Blitt
ISBN: 0-689-86619-4
Hardcover Price: $15.95
Any parent—that is to say, every parent—who has ever struggled to get a child to sleep, or who has gone hoarse over a fifty-page bedtime story, will get an appreciative chuckle out of Geoffrey Kloske's Once Upon a Time, The End. The premise is simple: A father starts cutting a few words here and there out of his night-owl son's stories, and before you know it he has cleverly condensed each tale down to a page or less of flash fiction. For example, why go through the story of the big bad wolf with three pigs when two will get the message across just fine? And in “Goldilocks,” why not just say that “a blond girl ate a bear's porridge, broke a bear's chair, and fell asleep in a bear's bed”? Obviously Kloske's editing job is meant to be humorous, such as when he makes the ending of every story and nursery rhyme into a moral about bedtime (sample: “Is there a pea under your bed? Then what's your excuse? Go to bed.”). Barry Blitt's offbeat ink and watercolor illustrations echo the story's tongue-in-cheek tone. Children will get a kick out of these bare-bones versions of familiar stories—and with any luck they'll tire themselves out laughing.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2005 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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