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Children's LiteratureA "Princess Diaries" book. In various voices of advisors, friends, relatives, and hangers-on of the Princess Mia, holiday information is conveyed. Readers can learn about manners (from the dowager, Grandmere, Princess of Genovia), some interesting ways to use makeup (Paolo, the palace cosmetician), and worldwide holiday traditions from the world-traveling princess herself. The giving of gifts rather than the receiving is emphasized and Mia's breathless and contemporary-sounding teenage voice makes the information slide down like a spoonful of sugar. Her offerings are set off in bracketed red type face for easy browsing. McLaren's grey watercolor illustrations with red touches lend a festive and feminine look to these pages and the handy size of the book is just right for a middle school girl to slip into her backpack to read on the long bus ride home. 2005, HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.