The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed

fantasy  book reviews Patrick Rothfuss The Adventures of the Princess and Mr.  Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the BedThe Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss

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.

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed — (2010) Publisher: This is not a book for children. It looks like a children’s book. It has pictures. It has a saccharine-sweet title. The main characters are a little girl and her teddy bear. But all of that is just protective coloration. The truth is, this is a book for adults with a dark sense of humor and an appreciation of old-school faerie tales. There are three separate endings to the book. Depending on where you stop, you are left with an entirely different story. One ending is sweet, another ishorrible. The last one is the true ending, the one with teeth in it. The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle is a dark twist on the classic children’s picture-book. I think of it as Calvin and Hobbes meets Coraline, with some Edward Gorey mixed in. Simply said: This is not a book for children.

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JUSTIN BLAZIER retired from FanLit in September 2012 after entertaining us for 3 years. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on Tolkien. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. Justin lives in a small home near the river with his wife, their baby daughter, and Norman, a mildly smelly dog. He doesn't have much time for reviewing anymore, but he still shows up here occasionally to let us know how he feels about stuff.

View all posts by Justin Blazier

2 comments

  1. the cover art cracks me up!

  2. I saw the teaser review and thought, “Wait, Patrick Rothfuss wrote what? The rest of the review makes more sense. I’m going to have to look this up.

    And I agree with your comment in the review about Subterranean Press. I think they are the best small press out there, bar none.

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