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Nobody Asked the Pea
     

Nobody Asked the Pea

by John Warren Stewig, Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator)
 

Readers might think they know the story of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea," but some characters in the story wold take issue with them. In this retelling one gets to have a say, even the pea, the crucial member of the cast.

This clever version of a favorite fairy tale is perfect for learning all about character and point-of-view. It is in

Overview

Readers might think they know the story of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea," but some characters in the story wold take issue with them. In this retelling one gets to have a say, even the pea, the crucial member of the cast.

This clever version of a favorite fairy tale is perfect for learning all about character and point-of-view. It is in line with the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The classic tale of the Princess and the Pea is retold here from the differing point of view of each of the characters, from Queen Mildred, Prince Harold, and princesses to Mother Mouse and the pea itself. The queen has her plan with the multiple mattresses ready when the prince brings Princess Tina for a visit. Tina fails the test, however, and is sent packing. During a terrible storm, a bedraggled young woman arrives at the palace, insisting that she is a princess. That night Princess Lucy finds that she cannot sleep on the mattresses. This convinces the queen that she has found a real princess, and Prince Harold is delighted with his bride. Patrick the Pea, the real hero of the story, is preserved behind glass on purple velvet. Each character's statement is set in a thin frame accompanied by a naturalistic detailed watercolor and pencil scene. The jacket/cover has already introduced some of them, including Mother Mouse and a large pea in sunglasses. The complete cast appears after the title page. Van Wright creates the setting in a stereotypical fairy tale castle with appropriately dressed royalty and servants. Somewhat exaggerated facial expressions enhance the overall lightheartedness of this version. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—In this wordy rendition, the classic fairy tale is retold from the viewpoints of 10 different characters. It begins with the pea in the garden bragging about being the biggest and best. Then Queen Mildred chimes in about her efforts to get her son to marry. Prince Harold doesn't want a fancy, prim girl for a bride. He'd rather have someone who will go hunting with him. Princess Tina is on her way over to the castle for her tryout. The housemaids are instructed to stack the mattresses. The queen plucks the pea from the garden, not explaining her plan to anyone. King Henry, the doormen, and the castle mice share their points of view along the way. The next morning, Princess Tina tells the Queen that she "slept like a log." She is sent on her way. A big storm hits. During the storm a girl appears at the door of the castle, wet and bedraggled. She claims she's a princess, but in her present state it's hard to tell. She, of course, doesn't sleep at all on the stack of mattresses. Soon a wedding is planned and there's great celebration throughout the land. The second-to-last scene shows the prince and princess off on a hunting trip. The last scene shows the pea in a display case, atop a purple pillow. The watercolor illustrations are perfect for the story, with detailed costumes, faces, and expressions. A fun, albeit lengthy, retelling.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
An extraordinarily arch and campy version of "The Princess and the Pea" is told from multiple points of view. It opens with a cast of characters, each with a distinctive voice and typeface in the narrative, starting with Patrick the Pea, growing "rounder and firmer each day" and extremely pleased with himself. Queen Mildred hectors her son Harold about getting married, pronto, and she is the perfect stereotype of a controlling, nagging and obnoxious mother. Harold, meanwhile, just wants to hang around and hunt. A few princesses are met and sent away, until Princess Lucy appears in the castle hall, soaking wet and disheveled, and cannot sleep a wink on the pile of mattresses with Patrick the Pea hidden under them. Harold is kind of delighted to find an outdoorsy girl who loves to hunt, Queen Mildred is pleased to outshine the other queens in wedding planning (especially Queen Estelle, "who couldn't plan a trip to the privy by herself"). The watercolor-and-pencil pastel-hued illustrations reveal deeply caricatured and exaggerated figures (including the mice and the horses, as well as Patrick the Pea). Not for young children, but good fun for middle-grade fans of fractured fairy tales as well as highly useful in classrooms. (Picture book. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823422241
Publisher:
Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
03/01/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,209,510
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

John Warren Stewig is the Founder of the Center for Children's Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he is an emeritus professor in the School of Education. His books for children include King Midas: A Golden Tale, illustrated by Omar Rayyan, which Kirkus Reviews called a "polished, polgnant retelling." He lives in Glenvale, Wisconsin.

Cornelius Van Wright has illustrated dozens of books for children, many in collaboration with his wife, illustrator Ying-Hwa Hu. He lives in New York City.

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