The Emperor's New Clothes
Hans Christian Andersen (NA)
. Child's Play (International) Ltd. . Swindon, Auburn, Sydney
PZ8.E338Em 2006 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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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!