The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed
by Pat Rothfuss
Cover Artist: Nate Taylor
Review by Gayle Surrette
Subterranean Press ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596063136
Date: 01 July 2010
The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed by Pat Rothfuss is not a children's picture book, though it is wonderfully illustrated with a bit of dark whimsy by Nate Taylor. The story is about a Princess and her teddy bear, Mr. Whiffle, as they go about their daily lives, and the scary thing that lives under her bed. Sounds like a young person's book doesn't it? Except this story has three separate endings. In order the endings are: Awww, Ick, and OMG.
You can get a pretty good idea of the illustrations by looking at the cover or go to the book's webpage (see links above) for some other samples. The Princess is adorable. Mr. Whiffle is definitely soft and cuddly. Even during the first part of the book when you think this is all just a sweet tale for children, if you look closely at the background of some of the pictures you'll get the impression that all is not sweetness and light in the Marzipan Castle where the Princess and Mr. Whiffle live. There are little clues that you don't really pay attention to when first reading the story. This is where a good artist can add to the drama because even though you may not notice the background you do see it and it does color your perception of the events.
Other than to say that you'll be surprised, horrified, and then flat-out knocked for a loop by the story, I can't say much or you'll miss your chance at having the same reaction I did when reading it the first time through. Rothfuss definitely knows how to write the set-up and to manage to give you three completely different stories depending on how far into the book you read.
So, while The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed may look like a child's picture book, it's really for those who enjoy good art work and a very a good old-fashioned dark fairy tale with teeth.