cover image King Bob's New Clothes

King Bob's New Clothes

Dom DeLuise. Simon & Schuster, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80520-2

Walking a thin line between the witty and the precious, comedian DeLuise brings an ebullient, jaunty style to this version of ""The Emperor's New Clothes."" He moves the story along briskly while conveying just enough worldly sophistication to flatter a young audience: describing the magical cloth that ""only the pure of heart could see,"" for example, DeLuise says in an aside, ""Can you imagine anyone believing such a thing?"" But the author brings a heavy hand to his delivery of what he sees as the tale's moral: setting the right priorities in life. Priorities, he intones, ""are those things in your life that are most precious to you, like being kind to your friends and yourself; eating healthily; getting enough sleep; brushing your teeth""--and the list goes on. Fortunately, Santoro (previously paired with DeLuise for Goldilocks) never falters in his comically exaggerated illustrations. Their remarkable energy borders on animation, and children will be tickled by the sight of the chubby, flamboyantly mustachioed king (who boasts a chin to rival Jay Leno's) caught in nothing but his birthday clothes. (Lest the modesty-minded grow anxious, the king's enormous sagging paunch does double duty as a fig leaf). Four fairly simple ""royal"" recipes that parents and children can make together are appended. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)