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Friday, June 24, 2016

Children’s Book Shows Softer Side of Fairy Tale Villains

Good Night, Baddies
Written by Deborah Underwood and Illustrated by Juli Kangas
Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2016

At the end of the day, do fairy tale villains relax and unwind? This is the question asked by Deborah Underwood’s charming “Good Night Baddies.”

The story is told in a lilting rhyme and beautiful full-page illustrations of medieval scenes of colorful witches, giants, gnomes and dragons in castles and cottages.

“Sun dips down; the day has gone. Witches, wolves, and giants yawn.
Queen and dragon, troll and gnome: tired baddies head for home.”

Though they are nasty during the day, Underwood shows the villains being kind and polite to one another at night.

“Baddies sit politely dining, no one throwing food or whining.
All day long they must be vile; now, at night they chat and smile.”

The evil witch puts on pajamas; the old troll takes a long bubble bath. The big bad wolves brush their teeth; Rumpelstiltskin reads a sweet bedtime story. Dragon takes a refreshing drink.

The witches check for princesses hiding under the scared Giant’s bed. The baddies tuck each other into bed and snuggle tight, reading by candlelight.

“Underneath a starry sky, sing a baddie lullaby.
Day will bring more evil schemes,
Good night, baddies ... Sour dreams!”

This is a fun twist to what is expected. Children will be amused to find their favorite storybook villains at home showing their more human sides. The message that even the least likable people may have their good sides isn’t a bad one either.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Deborah Underwood has published many books for children including the New York Times bestsellers “The Quiet Book,” “The Loud Book,” and “Here Comes the Easter Cat.”

Juli Kangas has illustrated several picture books including “Photographer Mole” by Dennis Haseley.

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