Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker fairy-tales-for-mr-barkerby Jessica Ahlberg; illustrated by the author. Candlewick Press, 2016. 28 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 2-5.

When Lucys dog, Mr. Barker, loses interest in the story shes reading to him he leaps out of her bedroom window through a cut-out in the page. Lucy follows him through successive cut-outs into a series of familiar fairy tale worlds: a house with a golden-haired girl (where three bears chase them away), three pigs in a house built of straw (where a wolf chases them away), an oversized house with a boy holding a goose (where a giant chases them away), and finally a room with a princess who is sound asleep (where a bad fairy chases them away). Lucy and the characters shes rescued land safely back in her room where they shut their pursuers outside the window and settle in for a quiet bedtime story. About a troll. The first few read-throughs will give young listeners a chance to guess what fairy tale world theyve landed in; subsequent readings will provide the opportunity to linger over the dozens of details in Ahlbergs delightfully busy watercolor illustrations. The pages are extra sturdy and a leap through each clever cut-out (a window, a door, a hole in some Swiss cheese,) provides a backward peek at the danger just escaped. The resourceful Lucy renders some age-old bogey men (and women!) a bit less fearsomejust in time for bed.

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

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