Illustrator Poly Bernatene and I have just republished three of our picture books – The Princess and the Pig, Here Be Monsters and Prince Ribbit – in new paperback editions.
The Princess and the Pig is the story of a baby princess and a piglet who are accidentally swapped and brought up in each other’s places. The characters in the story assume that the sudden change in the youngsters’ appearances is the work of fairies, having learnt of such magical transformations in the fairy tales they are reading.
Originally published in 2011, the book proved particularly popular in the US where it was nominated for twelve children’s book awards, and went on to win two: the Utah Beehive Book Award and the Vermont Red Clover Award.
Here’s what Publishers Weekly said about the book:
“Emmett and Bernatene have concocted a pretty much perfect fractured fairy tale, with wry, Thurberesque prose and gorgeously funny digital drawings that both embrace and wink at the genre.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – Starred Review
A spread from the new edition of The Princess and the Pig.
Here Be Monsters is a rhyming story about dastardly pirates and hungry monsters. When greedy Captain Cut‑Throat hears of a mysterious island strewn with giant gemstones, he is eager to go there. However his crew is not so sure; according to their map, the island is surrounded by monster-infested waters. The Captain dismisses the crew’s fears, assuring them, “Monsters simply, don’t exist.” But as they near the island, and the crew begin to disappear, the Captain’s fearlessness looks increasingly foolish.
Here’s what BookTrust had to say about the book:
“This brilliantly funny story uses rhyming text and very entertaining and colourful illustrations to keep young readers amused (and adults too). Delightful!”
A spread from the new edition of Here Be Monsters.
Prince Ribbit shares some of the themes explored in The Princess and the Pig and is another story in which the characters are reading books. When a cunning frog claims to be a bewitched prince, fairy-tale-loving princesses Arabella and Lucinda take him into their home and treat him like royalty. But fact-loving Princess Martha isn’t so sure as her books tell a different story.
The book was published at a time when fake news was a hot topic in the US and the story’s repeated refrain “Just because it’s in a book, it doesn’t mean it’s true,” resonated with many US readers. The timeliness of this message was highlighted in a very analytical review by The School Library Journal.
“A book that drills home a very simple message: ‘Just because it’s in a book doesn’t mean it’s true.’ Its timing could not be better.”
Elizabeth Bird, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
A spread from the new edition of Prince Ribbit.
Whenever I re-publish a book, I often take the opportunity to revise elements of the original edition that I think could be improved upon. One of the revisions made to the new editions of The Princess and the Pig and Prince Ribbit was the addition of titles to the spines and covers of many of the books shown in Poly’s illustrations.
Left: A detail from the original edition of Prince Ribbit.
Right: A detail from the new edition with titles added to the spines of the books.
You can order the new paperback editions of the books from Amazon in the UK and US, using the links below.