logankstewart's Reviews > The Thing Beneath the Bed

The Thing Beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss
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Aug 04, 10

bookshelves: childrens, fantasy, short-stories, own, 2010-read
Read in August, 2010 — I own a copy

So long ago I don't remember when I first heard about Patrick Rothfuss' not-for-children children's book. What began as a bedtime story he told his girlfriend made its way to publication through Subterranean Press. I put my copy on reserve months ahead of time and, eventually, the book arrived at my house.

At a cursory glance, The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle seems like any other children's book. The cover has a cute little girl and her stuffed teddy bear playing in a creek. Even the names "the Princess" and "Mr. Whiffle" imply all is well within the pages. But, as the author, the publisher, and the accompanying sticker tell the reader, this book is not for children.

The Thing Beneath the Bed is a story of three parts, that is to say it has three different endings. One ending is a sweet, happy ending that may be read to appease the lighthearted or those in need of a happy ending. One ending leaves a bit more to the imagination and has horrifying ramifications to the story. And the third ending, Pat's "true ending," as he calls it, hearkens back to an older style of fairy tale ending. Of the three, the third is certainly my favorite, as it captures both my type of humor as well as offers a shock value that can let the reader think.

But what about the plot? What about the illustrations? Both of these work hand-in-hand together in this book (as they do in any comic or picture book). Illustrated by Nate Taylor, each page is beautiful and conveys a certain message or feeling. Some pages require background investigation to pick up on things in the Princess' kingdom. One thing about the illustrations that I particularly liked was the use of black and shadows, especially when dealing with the Thing. I also liked the sweet caricatured facial expressions of the Princess. As for written plot, the story is simple. There is a Princess that lives alone with her stuffed teddy bear, Mr. Whiffle, in a castle, and together they play and try to avoid the Thing that lives beneath the bed. The duo have adventures and fun together during the day, and at night they keep the lights on.

One thing that greatly intrigued me about this book was the prospect of three completely different endings. I was intrigued to see how the story would end, and I'm glad to say that Pat did not meet any of my expectations, but instead well exceeded them. I was thoroughly pleased with all endings, and I think that if one were to stop at the first then it would be a fine book for children. The latter two endings still may be fine for children, depending on maturity levels and faith in the world, but to be on the safe side I'd recommend the multiple warnings to keep from kids.

Overall, I really enjoyed Patrick Rothfuss' picture story book. It was short, dark, twisted, and bittersweet, and it fit right up my alley. I read the book aloud to my wife, showing off each page like a kindergarten teacher. (My wife preferred the first ending.) If you didn't get your hands on a copy of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle, know that this book is currently only available through Subterranean Press. It was one of Sub Press' fastest selling books of all time, and they currently are offering a signed 2nd printing for $25. (Makes me feel conflicted. I have an unsigned 1st printing...) So, if you've the money to spare and are interested in reading Pat's delightfully dark "children's" story, click the above link and order your copy today.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Shellie (Layers of Thought) Logan - a friend of mine said this is not a children's book. You say differently... just curious ;)


logankstewart
I was thoroughly pleased with all endings, and I think that if one were to stop at the first then it would be a fine book for children. The latter two endings still may be fine for children, depending on maturity levels and faith in the world, but to be on the safe side I'd recommend the multiple warnings to keep from kids.


I definitely think it's a not-for-children children's book, if that makes any sense. It's the kind of tale that could give kids bad dreams or sinister thoughts and I wouldn't recommend it for children at all.

Hope that helps! This was a fun book for the "grown up" children, though. ;)


logankstewart Maybe you're talking about the "childrens" shelf I have this book on, too. I suppose for my own personal categorizing I would place it with children's books just because of the style of the story, but the actual meat of the book does not fit this classification. Sorry for any confusion.


Shellie (Layers of Thought) Okay...lol... thanks Logan.

Would you say its akin to Grim's dark fairy tales? or is this a bit beyond that?


logankstewart Yeah, akin to the old school dark fairy tales, but maybe a bit darker than many of them, though definitely not as dark as others. The main characters being a cute little girl and her stuffed bear is why it's so twisted, methinks, oh, and the crazy artwork going on all around.


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