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Child's Play Flip Up Fairy Tales

2006 Child's Play has published a series of at least 33 fairy tale booklets with flaps that flip up and tell a different story.  Among those 33 I have found four that I consider fables.  They are fun!  Some of these pamphlets are also published in a series that includes an audio CD.

2006 The Emperor's New Clothes.  Hans Christian Andersen (NA).  Illustrated by Alison Edgson.  Paperbound.  Swindon, Auburn, Sydney: Child's Play (International) Ltd.  $7.99 from an unknown source, July, '16.

This is a sturdy, well-made 24-page pamphlet that has a very good time with this traditional story.  This version also adds some details that flesh out the story in a good way.  The special feature of this book lies in the flip-up flaps that reveal a different perspective.  The first pages' contrast between the arrogant emperor and his good minister set a good tone.  The minister starts immediately by reminding the emperor that the people need better houses, food and schools.  "Never mind about all that.  How do I look in this?"  Each flap shows a strong contrast between reality and illusion.  The weavers claim that only the cleverest people can see the special cloth.  Apparently the emperor means to test people to see whether or not they can see it.  We are told here that the two clever thieves sold all the fine silk, gold, and satin in the marketplace.  The minister's motivation is clear: "Maybe I will keep my job!" In this version the minister and butler bring back contrasting reports of what the "suit" looks like.  One of the clever flip-ups presents the weavers' candles the night before the big procession.  Turn down the flap, and the candles have run down very low, and the clock has changed.  One poignant flip-up shows the naked emperor in a mirror.  Flip up the flap and we see him in a regal gown.  Another great flap includes both the naked emperor and a child pointing at his nakedness.  In this version, the children "could bear it no longer and they all burst out laughing."  The adults follow suit.  Here the flap does not reveal fine clothes but an embarrassed emperor.  This emperor scurries back to the palace embarrassed.  The minister wisely urges him to "care for your people and they will respect you, whatever has happened today."  And so it happens.  Well done!

2006 Stone Soup.  Illustrated by Jess Stockham.  Paperbound.  Swindon, UK: Flip Up Fairy Tales:  Child's Play (International) Ltd.  $6.99 from Amazon, Dec., '16.

"Flip Up Fairy Tales" is an extensive series including some twenty-eight books, including several fables.  The special character of this series lies in its flaps, which one can lift to find a little revelation.  Sometimes these show characters behind windows or doors.  Other times they show the next action of a character.  My prize among them goes to one villager's purse, which turns out to have only a moth inside.  The characters in this version are all animals.  A band of them shows up in a wagon at a village that seems deserted.  As they pitch camp, they are urged to go away, since this village has, after a hard winter, no food.  The leader of the band, a dog, then offers to make stone soup.  "All we need is a little wood."  One by one he puts ingredients in, starting with small things like salt and parsley.  We see the parsley hidden under a bed when we lift one of the flaps.  A key turning point in this version comes when the villagers all put their wood together.  Then they have enough.  The dog brings out the stone, previously well wrapped.  Soon everybody in the village contributes something, down to one last holdout, who finally yields a large onion.  The delicious feast has the village, as we lift up a flap, playing their instruments and dancing.  The next day as they break camp, the travelers present the village with the stone, which, they say, works only if they all cook together.  As they get a good distance away from that village, the band's wagon stops and the dog picks up an ordinary stone from the roadside.  "Just in case!"  The CD inside the front cover tells the story very well with a pleasing variety of voices.

2011 The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Illustrated by Jess Stockham.  Third printing.  Paperbound.  Swindon, Auburn, Sydney: Child's Play Flip Up Fairy Tales:  Child's Play (International) Ltd.  $8.99 from Amazon, Nov., '16.

This sturdy, well-made 24-page pamphlet again has a very good time with this traditional story, as is true of the other two fable pamphlets in this series.  This one adds a CD.  The lift-up flaps here are again well planned and executed.  For example, one pair of pages has the rabbits outrunning the shepherd boy as he tries to play tag with them and the goats outclimbing him as he tries to climb with them.  The storytelling is as clever as the artwork.  The villagers and the children left behind recommend that he take a book or his flute, and he immediately rejects their suggestions.  Soon he wishes that he had brought some books or his flute.  In this version, children who came at the first cry stay behind to make sure that the wolf does not reappear.  At the second cry, several adults already refuse to respond.  Perhaps the best of the flaps is over the bushes at the beginning of the third round: pulled down, it reveals just two wolf eyes in the darkness.  This version ends more softly than others.  Apparently, the sheep are scattered, but none are lost.  And the villagers offer to help the boy find them the next day but warn him to tell the truth in the future.

2012 Town Mouse, Country Mouse.  Illustrated by Jess Stockham.  First printing.  Paperbound.  Swindon, Auburn, Sydney: Child's Play Flip Up Fairy Tales:  Child's Play (International) Ltd.  $7.99 from Amazon, Nov., '16.

This is a sturdy, well-made 24-page pamphlet that has a very good time with this traditional story.  The lift-up flaps here are particularly well planned and executed.  For example, the town mouse, who has a skateboard and wears sneakers, has a terrible reaction to a sour berry in the country, as we see when we lift up the flap.  In the next surprise, he finds the river terribly cold after he jumps in for a swim.  Again, the cow suddenly appears over the wall when we lift a flap.  In the city, a passing train first frightens the country mouse.  And she fears that the rich food will make her sick.  They actually tempt the cat to a chase, which they accomplish around the house on skateboards.  She explains that the city is a little too exciting as she heads for home.