The Emperor's New Clothes
. Chronicle Books . San Francisco
PZ8.2.S38Em 2004 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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First published in the United Kingdom in 2004 by Templar Publishing. This expansively illustrated, landscape formatted book has a lion emperor. That solves problems about presenting nudity! The would-be tailors are weasels, and the emperor's attendants are tortoise and hare. Recall that Alison Jay did "The Race," already in this collection. Sedgwick uses verse effectively to tell this tale. This emperor wakes up to another royal day, but "no outfit seemed quite grand enough." Weasels to the rescue! They weave spells as well as thread. "All who dull or foolish be, our magic clothes they cannot see!" When the treasurer objects that they have already spent too much on clothes, the emperor retorts that his new suit will let him see those who are wise or foolish. Is that a logical expectation? Hare wonders why these tailors laugh so much in their workshop. Hare and tortoise look at each other when they see nothing on the loom. "They had to stall!" Apparently, they understand that it is not just each of them that is at fault. At the procession, people are too frightened to say what they really think. The weasels run away with the money during the parade. A small frog says "Look! The emperor's wearing nothing at all!" The trick is exposed, and so is the emperor. Does this emperor learn something? The paintings all show the cracks that ancient paintings develop. The animal poses are engaging, starting with the gesticulating weasel tailors facing the title page.