Princess Sylvie

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The late Beskow's (The Land of Long Ago) story of Princess Sylvie and her father the king comes by its nostalgic appearance honestly: it was first published in Sweden in 1934. Charmingly, Sylvie and her father act just like any ordinary parent and child, despite the fact that they're both wearing crowns. In closely observed vignettes, the two debate the wisdom of leaving the palace grounds ("I knew going into the wood wasn't a good idea," the king mutters to himself) and cope with annoying setbacks (he loses his keys, and the two have to climb over the wall to get home). In the forest, Princess Sylvie strays from the path and meets a talking bear, who obligingly lets her ride on his back; when they emerge, the king says what any father might: "Sylvie, what are you doing?... Get down right now!" The playful upsetting of the idea that monarchs enjoy luxurious and smoothly orchestrated lives provides gentle amusement; similarly, the talking bear, who should be a ham, turns out to be an introvert: "Well, I'd better be going then," he says, slinking off. An added attraction: Beskow's dainty, sentimental illustrations are the visual equivalent of cupcakes. Ages 4–up. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
Pre K-Gr 2—Fans of the author will be pleased to discover that this Swedish tale, originally published in 1934, has been translated into English. On a garden walk, the king and his daughter stray from the castle grounds into a wild wood beyond the gated wall, turning everything appropriately chaotic. The king has never been to the woods and is enthralled by what he finds there. Distracted, he doesn't see Princess Sylvie chase after her little dog, who runs off after a rabbit, who is leading him right into the arms of a big, lonely bear. Once the king catches up to them, he finds the princess happily astride the ursine creature. Disturbed by what he sees, he commands Sylvie to climb down and anxiously returns with her to his ordered world. Soft, gentle watercolors keep the mood light and airy and complement the fairy-tale quality of the text. While some plot points are left hanging, Sylvie's new taste for the wilder life ends the story in a thought-provoking way.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
A beloved Swedish author's picture books are finding their way into English more than 85 years after their original publication. This tale from 1934 is the second to appear in 2011, and while not quite so enchanting as The Land of Long Ago, it shares the same straightforward simplicity. Princess Sylvie and her father love going for walks in the palace gardens. The "big strong king" wears his red cloak and sash (and his crown, of course), and his velvets have a pocket of sweets for Sylvie. She and her dog, Oskar, want to leave the gardens to explore the woods beyond, but the king is doubtful. (His Majesty's expressions, from doubt to confusion to surprise to annoyance, are quite funny.) But off they go, and Oskar immediately chases a hare. Sylvie runs after him, but the king, enraptured by the wildness of the wood, does not see her go. The hare hides behind a bear(!), who greets Oskar as a playmate. The bear bows to Sylvie and invites her to ride upon his back until her befuddled father orders her down, leashes Oskar and takes her tightly by the hand so they can get home in time for tea. The bear looks like a very large teddy, the "wild" wood is spacious and airy and Sylvie never loses her tiny crown or musses her dress. And the hare has a great story to tell his family. Old-fashioned in all the senses of the word, but quite charming in its art-deco shapes and vintage colors; Sylvie and her dog and her dad will probably find themselves well-known once again. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780863158131
  • Publisher: Floris Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2011
  • Pages: 28
  • Sales rank: 747,915
  • Product dimensions: 9.56 (w) x 11.84 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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