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review 2017-11-07 07:47
The Gingerbread Man by Rana Giglio
Harcourt School Publishers Signatures: Rdr: The Gingerbman K the Gingerbread Man - Harcourt Brace

Title:  The Gingerbread Man

Author:  Rana Giglio

Artist: Henrik Drescher

Genre:  Fantasy / Humor / Retelling / Fairy Tale

Year Published: 1997

Year Read: 2017

Publisher:   Harcourt Brace & Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Some Mischievous Behavior and Scary Imagery)



I have this weird confession to make: I once had a dream about a book that was illustrated by Henrik Drescher that was obscured and in my dream, I ended up buying the book since I am a huge fan of Henrik Drescher’s works. Well, I have to say that that dream actually came TRUE since I just recently bought this rare and obscure book called “The Gingerbread Man” which was retold by Rana Giglio along with artwork by Henrik Drescher and I have to admit that this book was a blast to read!

This book is basically a short version of the original fairy tale “The Gingerbread Man” and it pretty much retells the story about how an old couple bakes a gingerbread man and the gingerbread man ends up coming to life and running away from the couple, while yelling out:

“Run, run,
As fast as you can.
You can’t catch me.
I’m the gingerbread man!”

Will the gingerbread man escape the couple, the horse, the cow and the fox?

Read this book to find out!

Wow…just wow...this had to be the weirdest yet most creative version of “The Gingerbread Man” I had ever read! I have to warn you though that this little children’s book is only EIGHT PAGES LONG! Not the usual 63 pages you get from most children’s books…EIGHT!!! So, I was quite surprised at how much of the original “Gingerbread Man” story they were able to get in such a short book, but it eventually worked out alright as this book serves to be an outline of sorts about how the “Gingerbread Man” story is told. Rana Giglio did a great job at retelling this classic fairy tale as the narrative is short and simple enough to read through and it really conveys the true story of the Gingerbread Man through just a few words on each page. But, the true highlight of this book is none other than Henrik Drescher’s colorful and bizarre illustrations as they bring this book to life and we are treated to a livelier version of the “Gingerbread Man” than ever before! I was intrigued with the artwork of the gingerbread man itself as it is drawn much more differently than the average look for the character as the gingerbread man is much more human like in appearance and it has wobbly limbs instead of short and thick limbs like it usually does in most adaptations.

I will admit that I was a bit disappointed that this book was a bit too short since I wanted to see more of Henrik Drescher’s artwork through a much more extended version of the story. I also will admit that I was a bit freaked out by the gingerbread man itself as while it is quite a unique design for the character, the fact that it has such wobbly limbs and oddly shaped eyes just put me on edge. I mean, just look at this thing!


Overall, “The Gingerbread Man” is an instant treat for anyone who wants to read a more obscure version of the classic fairy tale! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since the images of the gingerbread man might scare some small children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2017-06-03 17:49
True Paranoid Facts! by Calvin Zeit
True Paranoid Facts! - Henrik Drescher,Calvin Zeit

Genre:  Nonfiction / Humor / War / Politics

Year Published:  1983

Year Read: 3/11/2017





Publisher: William Morrow and Company, Inc.



I must admit that I was on a shopping spree on Amazon for books that were obscure and out of print and I happened to stumble upon this really obscure book called “True Paranoid Facts!” “True Paranoid Facts!” is a factual book that was written by Calvin Zeit along with artwork by Henrik Drescher and the only reason I bought this book in the first place was because of Henrik Drescher’s artwork and I actually found this book to be quite an interesting read!

Basically, this book is filled with facts that deal with wars, historical figures and nuclear weapons that were relevant during the 1980s and these facts include:

“You can run, but you can’t hide.”

“Most wars in history have been fought over RELIGION!”

“Valley of the Dolls is the best-selling novel in the history of the world!”

“YOU are your own worst enemy!”

“Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”

Calvin Zeit has done a great job at detailing various facts that were relevant during the 1980s and compiling them into this graphic novel that is more aimed towards adults than anything, especially if you have knowledge about the Cold War paranoia going on during the 1980s. I like the fact that Calvin Zeit provided some source notes at the end of the book that details where he researched the facts in this book as I wanted to know where these facts had stemmed from and how authentic they were during the 1980s. There were also some facts that I found surprising as I did not know about some of these facts until I read this book such as “Valley of the Dolls” being the best-selling novel in the history of the world or that Nancy Reagan is more popular than Mother Teresa. Henrik Drescher’s artwork is as usual humorous and bizarre to look at as the artwork is mostly rendered in black and white colorings and the characters shown in this book are exaggerated beyond comprehension. One of my most favorite images in this book is the image of the food coming after a man as the facts state about how some foods contain dangerous and poisonous chemicals that could kill a human being and the image of the food coming alive really reinforces that fact.


The reason why I gave this book a four-star rating was because I felt that the information in this book were a bit outdated. Of course, since this was written during the 1980s, this cannot be helped, although it still bothered me a bit when I look at information like “Valley of the Dolls” is the best-selling novel in the world and you look at the current best-selling books and that fact has changed dramatically over the years. Also, just because the cover of this book looks extremely humorous, does not mean that this book is for younger readers. This book contains lots of violence and nudity and that might make some readers uncomfortable if they do not like such elements in a story.

Overall, “True Paranoid Facts!” is an interesting book if you are looking to see what kind of facts about war, nuclear weapons and historical figures were relevant during the 1980s. I would recommend this book to fans of books that deal with the society of the 1980s!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2015-01-11 11:52
Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby by Eric Metaxas
Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby - Eric Metaxas,Joel Chandler Harris

Genre:  Animal / African American / Trickery / Contraptions

Year Published: 1990

Year Read:  1993

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books



This is a Grammy-award nominated story that is masterfully done by the folks at Rabbit Ears. Danny Glover's raspy yet calming narration and Taj Mahal's solo guitar music helps complements the story of those two tricksters, Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.

Danny Glover does a great job at narrating this story as he provides inflections throughout the story such as going deep when he does Brer Fox and going high-pitched when he does Brer Rabbit. Danny Glover's narration is calm and energetic and makes this story great to listen to on the ears. Taj Mahal's solo guitar music is excellent as the music greatly matches the story's calm mood and southern roots.

Although, I found nothing inappropriate about this story, I felt that Henrik Drescher's illustrations were a little awkward for this story. Since, the mood of the story is calm and sweet, Henrik Drescher's illustrations are a bit wild and blunt and the illustrations usually take the attention away from the main story. I did not like how the contraption came to be as it looks like a black jug that has wobbly legs attached to it instead of an actual person, which is normally seen in the other versions of this story.

Overall, this is a great story that fans of the Brer Rabbit would greatly appreciate. Both Danny Glover and Taj Mahal make a great team at providing the southern theme for this story. However, the illustrations may need to be improved to match the mood of the story.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2013-11-16 02:51
The Yellow Umbrella by Henrik Drescher
The Yellow Umbrella - Henrik Drescher

The Yellow Umbrella


Genre: Animals / Traveling / Family

Year Published: 1987
Year Read:  2008


I have been reading Henrik Drescher’s works for awhile now and I always loved the bizarre nature of his illustrations!  But in “The Yellow Umbrella,” the illustrations take on a more tranquil approach as we are treated to the adventures of a mother monkey, her baby and a yellow umbrella!
The story starts off with a father and his daughter going to the zoo to see the monkeys when suddenly, the father dropped his yellow umbrella into the monkey cage and the two monkeys ended up grabbing the yellow umbrella.  The two monkeys then go up towards the top of the hill in their cage and were admiring the yellow umbrella when all of a sudden; a strong wind picks up and blows the two monkeys, who were holding onto the yellow umbrella, away from the zoo!
Wow! This book was simply amazing!  I always loved Henrik Drescher’s works on his children’s books because of the surreal illustrations he brings to the stories being woven. But in this book, Henrik Drescher brought something entirely different to the illustrations as they were truly cute and expressive!  I loved the fact that this story was told mainly through illustrations, marking this as another wordless picture book that I had enjoyed since David Wiesner’s “Flotsam!” I loved the way that Henrik Drescher’s illustrations really told this story as we go through a journey with the mother monkey and her baby as they travel across the world with the yellow umbrella guiding them to their destination.  I also loved the images of the mother monkey and her baby going through different parts of the world such as flying over the ocean and then flying over the jungle as it gives the story a truly beautiful feeling of exploring the wonders of the world. I also loved the fact that Henrik Drescher’s illustrations are mainly done in yellow, white and black colorings. The fact that the title of this book is called “The Yellow Umbrella” and that the only other color that is prominent in this story besides black and white is yellow, really made the illustrations truly stand out in this story as they emphasize the significance of the color yellow as the yellow umbrella symbolizes freedom for the two monkeys as they fly away from the zoo and explore the dangers and wonders of the world that they could not explore in the zoo.
Overall, “The Yellow Umbrella” is a truly fantastic story about the importance of freedom and exploring the wonders of the world that many children will enjoy for many years!  I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book and the storytelling is easy enough for smaller children to understand.
Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
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review 2013-10-04 23:59
Love the Beastie by Henrik Drescher
Love the Beastie: A Spin-And-Play Book - Henrik Drescher

Genre: Friendship / Humor / Monsters



Year Published: 2011



Year Read: 2012



Series: Pat the Beastie #2



“Paul and Judy were naughty children who teased their poor pet Beastie to no end. Then Beastie decides to eat them!”


If you had read the first book “Pat the Beastie,” then you would know what had happened to Paul and Judy in that book!  “Love the Beastie” is the sequel to Henrik Drescher’s classic children’s book “Pat the Beastie” and this time, Paul and Judy have learned their lesson and are now good friends with their pet Beastie!  “Love the Beastie” may have some slight gross moments that might make some children feel queasy, but it is truly a wonderful book to read to small children!



The book picks up from where Beastie eats Paul and Judy and afterwards, Beastie decides to spit the children out of his belly after it sees that Paul and Judy promised to be good from now on.  Now Paul, Judy and Beastie are the best of friends and they do fun things together like spin each other on the carousel, playing hide-and-seek and brushing Beastie’s gunky teeth!


When I first read Henrik Drescher’s “Pat the Beastie,” I never would have thought that there would be a sequel to that classic book! I really enjoyed the ending of the first book (though it is creepy and twisted) and it was one of the few times that a children’s book could go to such high levels of gross humor.  However, the sequel “Love the Beastie” is the complete opposite of the first book, but just as memorable.  Henrik Drescher has done an excellent job at both writing and illustrating this slightly gross yet sweet natured tale about two children redeeming themselves after they tortured their pet Beastie and becoming fast friends with their Beastie.  I loved how Henrik Drescher gave the tone of this book a sweeter note since the first book was more malicious as the kids tortured the Beastie while in this book; the kids are friendly towards the Beastie.  I like the way that while this book was less malicious than the first book, the tone of this book still remained consistent with the first book as gross humor is the main priority in both books and this book does have some gross moments such as Paul and Judy brushing Beastie’s dirty teeth and the characters passing gas in bed.  But probably my most favorite part of this book was:




I am a huge fan of Henrik Drescher’s illustrations and his illustrations definitely do not disappoint me here!  Henrik Drescher’s illustrations are wonderfully surreal and hilarious to look at and I loved the illustrations of the Beastie as it is green, large and hairy and instead of seeing images of the Beastie being tortured, we see images of the Beastie playing with Paul and Judy happily and it was interesting seeing the smile on the Beastie’s face.  Probably my favorite images were of the beginning pages where we see what last happened in the first book with Beastie eating the kids and letting them out.  I also loved the little pop ups in this book especially the one where children can pull on the Beastie’s tongue to let Paul and Judy out of Beastie’s stomach.


The only problem with this book is that there are some gross moments in this book such as Paul and Judy brushing the Beastie’s messy teeth and the beginning of the book where Paul and Judy get out of Beastie’s stomach by sliding on its tongue.  However, since the gross moments in this book are only slightly gross, small children might not have a problem with the gross scenes in this book.


Overall, “Love the Beastie” is easily one of the best sequels I have ever read from Henrik Drescher’s work and this will definitely be a great classic for fans of the original book,“Pat the Beastie” for many years!  I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is not much gross humor that might disgust smaller children.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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