Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Secret Lives of Princesses

Booklist (June 1, 2010 (Vol. 106, No. 19))
Grades 4-6. One thing is certain: these ain’t no Disney princesses! Au contraire, this French import features about 30 royals who are quirky to a fault. There’s Princess Hot-Head, a study in fiery red, who “prefers brandishing a sword to practicing the piano.” And Princess Molly Coddle, cousin to the fussy girl of “Princess and the Pea” fame, who “never hesitates to demand the impossible.” A detailed, imaginative guide—more akin to titles like Wizardology (2005)—this novelty book also features pages devoted to elaborate, witty commentary on proper cradle etiquette; each character’s coat of arms; and various palace types. Dautremer’s illustrations are perfectly attuned to the mood of each princess’ prose portrait, by turns sophisticated and witty and full of odd angles and bizarre details. Princess Do-Re-Mi has the body type of a curvy violin; Princess Oblivia (“She forgets everything”) wears a hat full of holes that leaves blow through. A book to pore over.

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