|Prince Roger walking backwards of a cliff|
Okay so today's post is not so much about Prince Roger as it is about the book he is in, "A Barrel of Laughs A Vale of Tears". A children's book by Jules Feiffer that is a fun, quirky and interesting read.
If you've read my previous posts pertaining to books, you might notice that I really enjoy books that interact in some way with the reader. Really, I think what it is is that I like it when an author decides to do something a little different. I love it when authors play.
A Barrel of Laughs a Vale of Tears tells the story of Prince Roger who with his mere presence makes people laugh uncontrollably. There is no seriousness when he is around and he is simply happy all the time. He is sent on a quest by a wizard to gain some experience which might help him be easier to be around.
That's the overall plot, which is nice in and of itself, but what really wins me over in the book is the play element. There are many authors who say that their characters will sometimes take on a life of their own and that they are barely controllable. Feiffer's characters will sometimes right out ignore him.
For example, a character who was simply supposed to be part of the book for nine pages decides to stay longer. He later leaves the book in a fit of rage and later jumps back in. He becomes a more principal character than what was expected of him.
The narrator knows he is being read and addresses the reader from time to time. Sometimes dedicating whole chapters (short chapters) to explaining a certain event or part of the story.
However, I do want to point out that this works because the main plot is interesting and well written. Simply putting in random quirks just for the sake of being different would have been annoying after a while.
A good children's book is always more than just for children. So if you are looking for a feel good read or want to study a writing technique that plays with the reader, I recommend this book.
Are there any children's books that you have a soft spot for?