Brought to you by OBS reviewer Albert
It has a saccharine-sweet title. The main characters are a little girl and her teddy bear. But this is not a children’s book. It’s 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 is horrible. The last one is the true ending, the one with teeth in it.
The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath The Bed is easy to read. It’s a quick read too since the entire book is only 71 pages with a picture and a single line of text on each page. Like a children’s book. Just keep away from children since the appearance in this case is very deceiving.
The book is split into three section. Each section has it’s own “ending”. The first two endings are cliffhangers that are resolved at the first of the next section. Depending on where you stop, you can get completely different ideas as to what the story is.
In the first section, we meet Princess. Although no mention is made of her age, she looks to be between eight and ten. Princess lives alone in a castle with Mr. Whiffle, her teddy bear. They spend their time having grand adventures. It seems to be an idyllic existence with one major problem.
There’s a thing beneath her bed. Every night, the thing waits for the candle to go out and then reaches up with its long sinewy arm. It reaches for Princess. Ending One.
In the second section, Princess is given a present by a man in a cape who puts it inside the gate and then runs away. The present is a kitten which Princess names M.M. or Emmy. While making a nametag for the kitten, Princess doesn’t notice Emmy investigating under the bed. Emmy goes missing and despite the best efforts of Princess, she can’t find him.
Later that night, the thing under the bed reaches back up toward her. This time, he has something wet and warm in its scaly hands. Something that drips. Ending Two.
In the third section, we’re treated to a glimpse of why Princess is all alone in her castle. Oh, it’s never specifically mentioned, but it’s apparent.
In the synopsis, this final ending is labeled as “horrible”. I disagree. I found it hilarious although a lifetime of dark fantasy has skewed my sense of humor.
I did not find the final ending surprising. There’s plenty of clues about Princess. The man in the cape fleeing from the castle. The large knife she used to make the nametag for Emmy. The gate being locked from the outside with wicked barbs on the inside. And, let’s not forget the Black Duke. He was a stuffed lion who was vanquished by Princess and Mr. Whiffle in the first section. In the second section, he’s in a cage in the background being pecked by ravens who uses his stuffing to make a nest. None of the clues were pointed out, but they’re easily identifiable.
No, not surprising, but very well done.