Happily Ever After

Overview

One day, while holding her treasured baseball mitt, Kate makes a wish. And poof!— she turns into a princess in a fairy tale. But being a princess isn't at all what Kate imagined. Before long, she's fighting off dragons, entertaining witches, and teaching the ladies-in-waiting how to play baseball. With Kate around, fairy tale land will never be the same again!

When a girl who loves to read fairy tales is transported back to medieval times, she finds that the life of...

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Overview

One day, while holding her treasured baseball mitt, Kate makes a wish. And poof!— she turns into a princess in a fairy tale. But being a princess isn't at all what Kate imagined. Before long, she's fighting off dragons, entertaining witches, and teaching the ladies-in-waiting how to play baseball. With Kate around, fairy tale land will never be the same again!

When a girl who loves to read fairy tales is transported back to medieval times, she finds that the life of a princess in a castle is less fun than she imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Quindlen's breezy, farcical romp centers on a tomboy who loves reading fairy tales when she's not on the Little League field. When a magical baseball mitt unexpectedly grants Kate's wish to "try being a princess sometime," she suddenly finds herself sitting in a stone tower, wearing a pink dress "that laced up the front like a sneaker" and a jeweled crown. Wreaking playful havoc with stock fairytale characters and clichs, Quindlen has Kate eluding the advances of a lovestruck suitor who sings "some song about picking roses and watching beauty fade" as he ignores the approach of first an enemy knight and then a dragon (Kate fends off both). Later, the prince leaves Kate to be captured by a witch and her troll sidekick, who just want Kate to teach them some games ("We only kidnap all of you [princesses] because we're so lonely out here," they confess). Stevenson limns the proceedings in thin black-and-white cartoons of armored knights on horseback, turreted castles and bemused royals and courtiers. While this isn't an especially weighty effort, the collision between the tale's make-believe sensibility and the heroine's down-to-earth, '90s attitude and jargon results in an appealingly glib prose style that's neatly tailored to kids. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Kate's a tomboy who loves to play baseball. When Kate's Aunt Mary gives her a baseball glove that she had as a child, she cautions her that it is "a very, very special glove." One day when Kate is wearing the glove, she wishes she were a princess. Poof! Kate becomes one, only she's a very modern princess who is deposited in a castle complete with a knight. The ensuing story of Kate as a princess is a spoof on fairy tales, complete with hip language and a modern outcome. Written by a famous author and minimally illustrated by a well-known cartoonist, it will appeal to a young feminist with a quirky sense of humor.
School Library Journal
Kate is a fourth grader who plays shortstop for her Little League team and runs faster than anyone in her class. She also loves fairy tales. One day while reading with her Aunt Mary's "very special" baseball mitt under her pillow, Kate wishes she were a princess and is granted her wish. However, she discovers quickly that being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be: the handsome prince is rather wimpy and castle life is boring. After saving herself from the requisite dragon, witch, and black knight, Kate teaches the Ladies-in-Waiting and serving maids to play baseball and then happily returns to the present. The clever text is short and simple, subtly contrasting the different roles of a girl growing up in medieval and modern times. Kate is an insouciant and likable heroine, brought to life admirably by Stevenson's humorous illustrations. The theme is no longer new, but this is a lively and entertaining treatment. Grades 1-4. --Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews
Quindlen (for adults, One True Thing, 1994, etc.) bows with this literary confection slightly reminiscent of Jay Williams's feminist fairy tales. Kate, a star Little League shortstop, makes a wish to be a princess, unaware that the baseball glove she wishes on is magic. She abruptly finds herself dressed in uncomfortable clothes, sitting in the top room of a stone tower as men in metal suits clash outside. After wounding the ego of an inept prince by helping him vanquish a Black Knight and a dragon, Kate befriends a lonely witch, makes her way to the local castle to teach the serving maids and ladies-in-waiting how to play ball, then wishes herself back home. As a jock with a fondness for fairy tales, Kate makes a refreshing protagonist, but she is more affected by homesickness than by the creatures and situations she encounters. The other characters are cardboard, especially the men, who are either stuffy or clueless. Some amusing twists don't conceal the tale's essential thinness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140387063
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Series: Chapters, Puffin Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 543,773
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.79 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Quindlen

Anna Quindlen, whose New York Times column won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize, is the author of the essay collections Thinking Out Loud and Living Out Loud; the bestselling novels Object Lessons, One True Thing, and Black and Blue; and two children's books. The mother of three, she lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Biography

Anna Quindlen could have settled onto a nice, lofty career plateau in the early 1990s, when she had won a Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times column; but she took an unconventional turn, and achieved a richer result.

Quindlen, the third woman to hold a place among the Times' Op-Ed columnists, had already published two successful collections of her work when she decided to leave the paper in 1995. But it was the two novels she had produced that led her to seek a future beyond her column.

Quindlen had a warm, if not entirely uncritical, reception as a novelist. Her first book, Object Lessons, focused on an Irish American family in suburban New York in the 1960s. It was a bestseller and a Times Notable Book of 1991, but was also criticized for not being as engaging as it could have been. One True Thing, Quindlen's exploration of an ambitious daughter's journey home to take care of her terminally ill mother, was stronger still—a heartbreaker that was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. But Quindlen's fiction clearly benefited from her decision to leave the Times. Three years after that controversial departure, she earned her best reviews yet with Black and Blue, a chronicle of escape from domestic abuse.

Quindlen's novels are thoughtful explorations centering on women who may not start out strong, but who ultimately find some core within themselves as a result of what happens in the story. Her nonfiction meditations—particularly A Short Guide to a Happy Life and her collection of "Life in the 30s" columns, Living Out Loud—often encourage this same transition, urging others to look within themselves and not get caught up in what society would plan for them. It's an approach Quindlen herself has obviously had success with.

Good To Know

To those who expressed surprise at Quindlen's apparent switch from columnist to novelist, the author points out that her first love was always fiction. She told fans in a Barnes & Noble.com chat, "I really only went into the newspaper business to support my fiction habit, but then discovered, first of all, that I loved reporting for its own sake and, second, that journalism would be invaluable experience for writing novels."

Quindlen joined Newsweek as a columnist in 1999. She began her career at the New York Post in 1974, jumping to the New York Times in 1977.

Quindlen's prowess as a columnist and prescriber of advice has made her a popular pick for commencement addresses, a sideline that ultimately inspired her 2000 title A Short Guide to a Happy Life. Quindlen's message tends to be a combination of stopping to smell the flowers and being true to yourself. Quindlen told students at Mount Holyoke in 1999, "Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world."

Studying fiction at Barnard with the literary critic Elizabeth Hardwick, Quindlen's senior thesis was a collection of stories, one of which she sold to Seventeen magazine.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 8, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., Barnard College, 1974
    2. Website:

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