Coming to shelves in early March is the deliciously-titled Tales for the Perfect Child (Atheneum), written by the late Florence Parry Heide and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. This is a reissue with Ruzzier’s spot illustrations; these eight stories were originally published in 1985 with illustrations by Victoria Chess. In July, that collection of stories will be followed by nine more stories from the same duo in Fables You Shouldn’t Pay Any Attention To (also from Atheneum).
These stories are vintage Heide — rife with mischief and delightful devilry. They’re a breath of fresh air, especially in this day and age of hyper helicopter parenting. Tales consists of the stories of Ruby, Arthur, Gertrude & Gloria, Harry, Bertha, Harriet, Irving, and Ethel; they are brought to life in Ruzzier’s signature style as ducks, pigs, cats, and the like. There are stories of whining, procrastination, deceit, and more — all tales of children attempting to one-up the adults in their lives by perfecting their misconduct. “Good whiners,” for instance, “make it very hard for anyone to think of anything else,” Heide writes in the story of Harriet, a kitten, who whines so perfectly that she gets precisely what she wants. (Heide notes in the beginning of the story: “Some children hardly ever whine. Can you believe that? So of course they never get to be very good at it.”) Read the rest of this entry �