Mac Barnett, author of the ingenious pictures books OH NO!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World, Guess Again! and Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem is back with Mustache!, a royal fable featuring a conceited king that, if read in a certain slant of light can seem very reminiscent of a recently deposed dictator, but with a much happier (and less violent) ending.
The book beings, "Duncan was a terrible king, but he was terribly handsome." Kevin Cornell's illustrations, a sort of mash-up of painterly and cartoony, show us that King Duncan is anything but terribly handsome and really more of a buffoon. When his subjects storm the castle demanding King Duncan do something for them, the king responds with an enormous banner with his face and the words, "I'm great!" painted on it. In the night one of the villagers paints a big, bushy mustache on the banner.
Outraged, the king puts up a wanted poster with an reproduction of the banner on it. Of course this leads to more a revolt with more mustahces and a ludicrous (well, ludicrous if it had not actually been tried by other despots) punishment for his subjects that leads to what, for King Duncan, approaches abject loneliness. A change in his outlook (and facial hair, fake or otherwise) ensues. As with OH NO!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World, Barnett proves again that he is a master at creating a framework of text upon which an illustrator can hang his creation. While the story of Mustache! is the spine and the heart of the book, Cornell's illustrations are the sartorial flourishes that complete the tale. A bit like Where's Waldo meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cornell packs his pictures with silly sights and contraptions, be it depressed looking vikings with "Will pillage for food" written on their shield to a royal page forced to hang from a rope outside the king's bathroom, shoveling coal into a furnace to keep his jacuzzi hot and bubbly, to a statue of the king besting a resigned looking walrus. Best of all, in our house, Mustache! reminds us of our favorite vending machine toy - stick on fuzzy mustaches for a quarter each, all shapes, colors and sizes to be had! So run out, buy this book, buy some stick on mustaches and have a good time!
Barnett is also author of the The Brixton Brothers series of mysteries that mixes a little bit of humor with splash of a tongue-in-cheek then wraps it in a genuine suspenseful mystery that is really fun to read!
Other books from Mac Barnett:
And, coming soon:
Due out January, 2012, this collaboration between Mac Barnett and John (I Want My Hat Back) Klassen should be another home run for both!
Here's the blurb from bn.com. It sounds SO COOL! Can't wait to get my hands on this one, due out April, 2012.
Meet Chloe: Every week, she collects loose change so she can buy tickets to ride the merry-go-round. But one fateful day, she gets lost in the woods on her way home, and a large dragon leaps out from—"Wait! It's supposed to be a lion," says Mac Barnett, the author of this book. But Adam Rex, the illustrator, thinks a dragon would be so much cooler (don't you agree?).
Mac's power of the pen is at odds with Adam's brush, and Chloe's story hangs in the balance. Can she help them out of this quandry to be the heroine of her own story?
Mac Barnett and Adam Rex are a dynamic duo, and two of the strongest contemporary voices in picture books today. In an accessible and funny way,Chloe and the Lion talks about the creative process and the joys and trials of collaboration.