The Princess and her teddy bear, Mr.Whiffle, live in a marzipan castle and spend their days in various childhood adventures such as fighting pirates, squashing stuffed toy rebellions, and hiding from monsters under the bed. Patrick Rothfuss’s simple and cheery writing style and Nate Taylor’s beautifully comic artwork, full of clean lines and plenty of little details to look for, add to the childish atmosphere.
But The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed is not a children’s book. It’s a picture book for adults, and there will be a lot of adults who hate it. That’s right, and I mean Haaaaaaate it. Why? Because they won’t get it — they’ll be looking for a message that just isn’t there. There is no deep hidden meaning that someone must be enlightened enough to understand. There is no more point in the Princess’s story than there is to a child running through the mud pretending to be a cowboy. You need to be able to think like a demented 10 year old. (Fortunately for me, I spend a fair amount of my time chuckling over immature silliness, and apparently so do Patrick Rothfuss and Nate Taylor.) The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle has three different endings ranging from the sweet to the sick, so you can let your mood determine your experience each time you read it.
I loved this little book for a lot of reasons, but most importantly I loved The Princess and Mr. Whiffle because it was different in every way imaginable. It’s not a typical fantasy book and it isn’t even a children’s story. I applaud Mr. Rothfuss for trying something unique and imaginative and Subterranean Press for giving a book like The Princess and Mr. Whiffle a home. We are all a little too stiff in our expectations from literature sometimes. It’s nice to be silly on occasion, and this little book is so very silly. Thank you, Patrick Rothfuss, for making me smile.