The Princess and the Pea

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shadow-box boudoirs and forest dioramas set the stages for this retelling, designed in flamboyant typefaces and populated by glamorous paper cutouts. Per usual, a king and queen seek a "princess of blue blood and equal in royalness to" their son. Yet the choosy prince, who's "romantic... but also a little dramatic," sighs that the paper dolls he meets (attired in delicately folded fabric or sparkly paper gowns) lack a "certain... something." While the prince pines, a young lovely "in a treetop house just over the mountain" decides to go for a moonlight stroll; multilayered silhouettes of stark trees and glittery midnight-blue sky suggest danger. Caught in a sudden storm, she arrives at the castle, where she dries off and undergoes the queen's famous pea ritual. Child (That Pesky Rat) emphasizes noble etiquette and this makes for a wee bit of suspense: although the princess aches after sleeping on 12 featherbeds and a pea, she hates to be rude to her hosts, and reluctantly admits to the special discomfort that makes her worthy of the prince. Child's personable voice, signature sloe-eyed characters and a savvy blend of script and italics, enliven the tale. But the main interest lies in the interior and exterior spaces, decorated with tiny glass vases, teeny Persian rugs, little chairs, sculpted shrubberies and electric candles. Photographed by Borland, the fixtures inspire envy in dollhouse enthusiasts and lend a "certain... something" to the gussied-up story. Ages 5-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
It is time for the handsome prince to marry. He wants to marry for love, to someone mesmerizing, fascinating, and possessed of "a certain something." His parents want a real princess. The problem is how to find someone who meets all the criteria? A fancy ball and extensive search fail to locate an acceptable princess. As luck would have it, late one night a princess comes to the castle seeking shelter from a storm, but although she seems to be a promising candidate for the prince, can she meet the exacting test for a true princess? Can her night's sleep be spoiled by a single pea? Every child should hear this classic fairy tale, if only because the named character has become an iconic image in modern culture. But this version of the story may not be ideal for every child. While witty and nicely updated with a spunky princess, a prince looking for all the right things in a mate and sympathetic parents, it is too long-winded for many children of picture book age and its pink cover may not a good bet for most boys. For an older child, one old enough perhaps to read it herself but young enough to enjoy a cozy session of being read to, this book will be a delight. The illustrations are photographs of scenes rendered in meticulous miniature (the artist's work is described at the end of the book). The hand-drawn paper-doll human figures stand out against the rich warmth of the three-dimensional backgrounds. 2006, Puffin Books/Hyperion, Ages 7 to 12.
—K.N. Epstein
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-Child has expanded Andersen's tale from a one-page gem into a humorous picture book that will delight the whole family. Color photographs of a cleverly designed, three-dimensional miniature world of dolls reveal wonderful details. The mattresses-all 12 of them-are covered in multi-patterned cloth, tables and cupboards display real china plates, and a mirror reflects a princess sitting in her parlor. The prince says that he "wanted to marry for love." In an aside, Child comments, "He was just that kind of romantic boy." The prince now tells his parents: "I would gladly marry tomorrow but-she must be more mesmerizing than the moon and I must find her more fascinating than all the stars in the sky. And there must be a certain-something about her." The loving king and queen throw a royal ball so that their son can meet all the eligible princesses; unfortunately, not one fills the bill. He then decides to travel "far and wide" to look for a "real princess." It is not until he comes home that she appears at his door. We all know what happens then. Every library will want at least one copy of this fabulously funny and unique book.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Between bright pink covers this frilly retelling of the Andersen story pairs a wordy text larded with italics to photos of elaborately appointed miniature rooms or semi-abstract landscapes into which Child has placed scribbly paper-cutout figures. It resembles a theatrical production with paper dolls. Declaring that his bride must be "more mesmerizing than the Moon," "more fascinating than all the stars in the sky," and also have "a certain . . . something," the Prince rejects all royal applicants, until at last along comes a real Princess who, being "a bright girl-as all real Princesses are-" accepts his proposal after passing his mother's princess test. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786838868
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Pages: 44
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Child is the author/illustrator of several acclaimed books for children, including the Clarice Bean books, and the Charlie and Lola books, which inspired the hugely popular television series. Her Hyperion titles include the beloved Princess and the Pea and Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2009

    My girls loved this book also they red again and again...

    I borrowed this book from the public library and we all loved the story and animated pictures. I'm going to buy this for our girls.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted March 12, 2009

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