A Picture Book For Adults!

As young kids, it wasn’t unusual to have picture books  and fairy tales read to us, and when we were old enough, we starting reading these same stories on our own. For many, this was the beginning of our reading lives, and as a result of this, we tend to assume that picture books, generally, are for children.

The Adventures of The Princess And Mr WhiffleThe Adventures of the Princess And Mr Whiffle: The Thing Beneath The Bed, by Patrick Rothfuss (yes, that same Patrick Rothfuss who wrote the brilliant fantasy novels The Name Of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear) and illustrated by Nate Taylor, is not a picture book for children. While the book certainly seems sweet on the outside, The Princess being a little girl and Mr Whiffle being her teddy bear, the book is actually a darkly comical tale with three different endings, and the whole thing is a sort of tribute to children’s picture books and the older style fairy tales.

The three different endings are definitely the stand out aspect of this book. The first ending is the happier, sweet ending one would expect from such a story, but for the second and the third endings the story simply continues on from the same point. The second ending is quite a horrible one, almost the opposite of the first in terms of the feelings it evokes. But the third ending is the real one, and there is something deliciously wicked and funny about the way they have chosen to end the story fully. But of course, you’ll have to read it yourself to find out.

This book was first published in 2010, and stupidly I waited too long to buy it and it went out of print entirely. Luckily a few months ago it was reprinted with a slightly different cover, new author notes from Rothfuss, and at the back is a new section with some of Taylor’s original sketches, covered in handwritten notes about what was and wasn’t working for each of the two contributors, which is awesome just to see the idea in progress. Naturally I haven’t let myself miss out on this a second time, and it was well worth the investment to have this in my collection.

For anybody who is already a fan of Patrick Rothfuss, I can’t recommend this quirky little book enough. It is very much his style of storytelling and his sense of humour, although in a way you’ve never seen before. And even if you haven’t read anything by Rothfuss, I’d still recommend giving this a whirl – it is fun and different, and certainly memorable. Just remember not to read it to your kids.

What were your favourite picture books as a child?

Do you know of any other good picture books for adults?

12 thoughts on “A Picture Book For Adults!

  1. Ferdinand the Bull comes to mind. We jist watched the old Disney version and I so enjoyed traveling back to my childhood. Today I would say many grahic novels work as picture books for adults. Hinds’ beowulf is an example.

    • Ahhh I must confess I am unfamiliar with Ferdinand the Bull, though with a name like that I already like it! 🙂
      This is true, graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular again and I think it’s because they’re filling that void in a lot of people’s lives!

  2. This book seems so intriguing.. I wonder if it comes in Swedish? Although when I think of it, I might as well just see if they sell the English version here 🙂 Lovely post, I love getting book recommendations – especially from you!

    • Hmmm I don’t know if it’s translated actually? I know his novels, both of which are amazing, have been translated into A LOT of different languages, and I suspect Swedish is one of them (I know he has Swedish fans through something he once mentioned on his blog), but I don’t know if they translated this picture book. I suspect, considering it went out of print for a long time, that they never expected it to sell as well as it did.
      But yeah, I just bought the English version from bookdepository.co.uk so maybe head there? I’ve banned myself from that site for a while. You know why (and perhaps only you know why 😛 ).
      And thanks for the lovely comment, as always! 😀 Glad to recommend books to other awesome, like-minded people such as your good self 😉

  3. This book got me curious. I think I’ll look for a copy of this. I didn’t know there will be picture books for adults. I think the only picture books I read recently are for kids, especially the Guardians of Childhood picture books and the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

  4. Having three very different endings is an interesting concept. It’s a bit of a throwback to the ‘pick an ending’ books of the eighties and a pre-cursor to graphic novels. I really like this idea. 🙂

    My favourite author/illustrator of picture books is a toss-up between Jan Brett and Eloise Wilkin. Although I wouldn’t consider their stories to be ‘fairy tales’, they both have created visually gorgeous characters. I haven’t seen any other adult fairy tales.

    • Ah yes, I grew up with some of those “choose your adventure” type books, they were fun but I suppose were ultimately replaced by video games, somewhat sadly.
      Interesting, I will have to look into those two you have mentioned! 🙂

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