‘The Emperor’s New Clothes Horse’ is not a sequel to ‘The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas’, but it is another Hans Christian Andersen fractured fairytale, and again it’s beautifully illustrated by Sue de Gennaro. Except this time she’s used textas!
The story centres on an emperor who desprately wants to win a particular horse race, and is searching for the perfect horse to do it. Two ‘brilliant international trainers’ swan into town with an eye to the swindle, and hilarity ensues, especially if you know what a clothes horse is, which you will, after you read the definition on page one of the book.
Clothes horse [klohz-hawrs, klohthz-] –noun
1. a frame on which to hang wet laundry for drying;
2. not a horse
Alison Lester launching ‘Emperor’. Sue is to her left.
The Emperor has won almost every horse race in the kingdom … all except one. ‘I’d trade all these trophies for one Cristobel Cup!’ When two brilliant international trainers claim to have found the fastest racehorse for the Emperor, it sounds like hsi wish will finally come true! But is it the perfect horse?
On 7th May, I chatted to the Breakfasters on Triple R about the book.
“A twist on the old fairy tale and a fun one at that. There’s no parade or nudity just an old wooden clothes horse. I found this quite fun even knowing the original and young children who have never heard this before will be laughing at the silliness of the Emperor. The pictures were wonderfully complimentary to the overall light-hearted tone of this book. A silly little tale.
” - Kylie Calwell, Bug in a Book
“Step One read the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Emperor's New Clothes
Step Two read The Emperor's new Clothes Horse
I do enjoy fairy tale parodies. The Emperor's new Clothes horse is perfect. The illustrations are whimsical and lively. The twist of using a clothes horse and a horse race is a delightful innovation.
I do hope this book is short listed for the CBCA awards in 2013. It will be fun to share this romp in my library.
” - Momo, Time to Read
“I really enjoy reading fables to children, and illustrated ones are perfect to read to young children. They are interesting and engaging to read but they also offer a springboard into many meaningful discussions.
The Emperor’s New Clothes Horse
is a twist on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes
. Tony Wilson’s story-telling style is also reminiscent of classic fables. The silly story and gullible emperor will have children giggling along as you read it.
Sue deGennaro’s colourful, textural and eccentric illustrations offer more subtle humour to the story too, which she has created using markers and biro; the final illustration being particularly witty. They are all featured in the centre of each page with the story bordering the outer edges.
” - Jackie Small, My Little Bookcase
“This is a witty take on the classic story The Emperor’s New Clothes
, with a clothes horse taking centre stage in this equine twist. Youngsters who haven’t heard the original will get almost as much out of the story as those who have, though the two work well together and for older children there is an opportunity for comparison of the two. Illustrations, using Copic markers and black biro are delightfully humorous. The unusual layout is also clever, with each illustration spanning the centre of each spread, and text appearing on the outer third of each page against pastel backgrounds picking up the colours of the illustrations.
Suitable for early childhood, but with applicability well into the school years.
” - Sally Murphy, Aussie Reviews
“I love this book. I love the tone, the humour, the voice, the images. I’m also absolutely loving the page layout. Obviously reluctant to place a single comma into the striking landscapes of deGennaro’s work, text columns down the page edges provide the perfect spot for wordage, while smiling eyes can scan the imagery, completely unfettered. Brilliant.
A must-have for any picture book lover. And get one for the kids, too. Full review
” - Tania McCartney, Kids Book Capers
“Wilson’s perfectly pitched humour combines with deGennaro’s unique and fanciful illustrations (her pompous Emperor is fabulous). A clever use of coloured columns on the side of each page for the text allow for large, double-page illustrations, well suited to the horse-racing action. Keep an eye out for some funny little elements in each illustration – the buckets labelled ‘Poo’, the Emperor’s wife reading a book titled ‘My Husband is Bonkers’ and more.
The Emperor’s New Clothes Horse
is suitable for children aged three and over – older kids will particularly enjoy the twist on the original story. Full review
” - Babyology, July 2012
“I just love it when a picture book is different - both in the storyline sense and image sense. The inspiration for this story may not be new, but the way in which is has been retold, and its striking imagery, makes it as original as they come.
Author Tony Wilson has reinvented the pride-stricken Emperor with a highly imaginative take on this classic tale.
This is a truly funny book - with laugh out loud moments and a dry, brilliant ending. Sue deGennaro's stunning illustrations are some of my favourites this year. Using delicate shapes, lines and colours, her images remind me of 1920s cartoons à la the Original Mickey Mouse . . . I can just imagine them coming to life and bopping to some flapper tune as they strut all over the book's pages.
A must-snaffle. Full review
” - Kids Book Review, 5/6/2012
“Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale 'The Emperor's New Clothes' gets a deliciously subversive and highly original new twist. In this re-imagining of the story, the Emperor is still easily conned, but this time by a pair of scheming horse trainers who convince him that a laundry clothes horse is actually a champion racehorse. The Emperor and his subjects are fooled by the connivance until a little boy questions why the Emperor is trying to race a clothes horse on a racetrack. Wilson's clever text ensures we laugh along with the Emperor rather than at him, and deGennaro's exuberant illustrations provide lots of witty asides for the astute reader. This book is sensational. Highly recommended for ages 3 to 8 years.” - Veronicah Larkin, Pick of the Month, Canberra's Child
“A whimsical take of the old cautionary tale, The Emperor's new clothes
, this wonderful picture book offers an entertainingly funny book to read aloud to a class or child. The enticing layout with the words in a column on each side of the page with a large illustration across the double page spread, makes it child friendly as they turn each page knowing where to look. Great fun, with delightful illustrations, this book will be a hit with younger students and could well be compared with the original tale. Each page has different things to seek out for the quick eyed reader, and there is fun to be had for the adult following the money. Full review
” - Fran Knight, ReadPlus
“A twist on the old fairy tale and a fun one at that. There’s no parade or nudity just an old wooden clothes horse. I found this quite fun even knowing the original and young children who have never heard this before will be laughing at the silliness of the Emperor. The pictures were wonderfully complimentary to the overall light-hearted tone of this book. A silly little tale. Full review
” - Kylie Calwell, The Read, 5/5/2012