The Very Fairy Princess

( 49 )

Overview

While her friends and family may not believe in fairies, Geraldine knows, deep down, that she is a VERY fairy princess. From morning to night, Gerry does everything that fairy princesses do: she dresses in her royal attire, practices her flying skills, and she is always on the lookout for problems to solve. But it isn't all twirls and tiaras - as every fairy princess knows, dirty fingernails and scabby knees are just the price you pay for a perfect day!

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Overview

While her friends and family may not believe in fairies, Geraldine knows, deep down, that she is a VERY fairy princess. From morning to night, Gerry does everything that fairy princesses do: she dresses in her royal attire, practices her flying skills, and she is always on the lookout for problems to solve. But it isn't all twirls and tiaras - as every fairy princess knows, dirty fingernails and scabby knees are just the price you pay for a perfect day!

This new picture book addition to the Julie Andrews Collection features the joyful illustrations of Christine Davenier, and is sure to inspire that sparkly feeling within the hearts of readers young and old.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Geraldine, this book's redheaded heroine, may look like an ordinary girl, but she harbors no doubts about her magical royal status: “I FEEL it inside—a sparkling feeling of just KNOWING in my heart.” With great powers, however, come great responsibilities. A fairy princess must always wear her crown (“You never know who you might bump into... even on the stairs), shore up her mere mortal friends (“YOU sparkle when you play the trombone,” she tells one), and always be on the lookout for problems to solve, like an escaped classroom hamster. Andrews and Hamilton's narrative voice, a mixture of self-assured proclamations and parenthetical confidences, is fun, and for every reference to glitter, tutus, and sparkle, there are examples of the heroine's rough-and-tumble side (sliding down a banister or pursuing a frog across a stream). Davenier's (Just Like a Baby) luminous and empathic watercolors act like fairy wings on this story. Even though the pictures are predominantly pink, there's nothing pale about Davenier's characterization; Geraldine radiates noblesse oblige, heedless energy, and a sense of destiny—she's Eloise crossed with Hillary Clinton. Ages 3-6. (May)
Publishers Weekly
Geraldine, this book's redheaded heroine, may look like an ordinary girl, but she harbors no doubts about her magical royal status: “I FEEL it inside—a sparkling feeling of just KNOWING in my heart.” With great powers, however, come great responsibilities. A fairy princess must always wear her crown (“You never know who you might bump into... even on the stairs), shore up her mere mortal friends (“YOU sparkle when you play the trombone,” she tells one), and always be on the lookout for problems to solve, like an escaped classroom hamster. Andrews and Hamilton's narrative voice, a mixture of self-assured proclamations and parenthetical confidences, is fun, and for every reference to glitter, tutus, and sparkle, there are examples of the heroine's rough-and-tumble side (sliding down a banister or pursuing a frog across a stream). Davenier's (Just Like a Baby) luminous and empathic watercolors act like fairy wings on this story. Even though the pictures are predominantly pink, there's nothing pale about Davenier's characterization; Geraldine radiates noblesse oblige, heedless energy, and a sense of destiny—she's Eloise crossed with Hillary Clinton. Ages 3–6. (May)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
From page one of this tender book, narrator Geraldine announces that she is a fairy princess. Who are we to question her? After all, she tells us, she knows she is a fairy princess before she "feel[s] it inside—a sparkly feeling of just knowing in [her] heart." Throughout the text by Andrews and Hamilton, Geraldine seeks to explain her behavior as a fairy princess. Davenier's illustrations reveal her to be both a fairy princess (confident on every page) and a very real little girl (getting into mischief, tiara notwithstanding.) The text tells us that in the morning she puts on her crown before she heads downstairs; the accompanying illustration shows her sliding down the railing. The text tells us that she practices flying on her way to the school bus; the illustration shows her running her heart out. But in spite of the doubters—her brother Stewart, her friend Delilah, her teachers—Geraldine proves herself to be all fairy-princess from morning to night. And there's nothing wrong with that. Imaginative play and role playing rule the day in this simple story. Gerry is both feminine and practical, a realistic blend of traits shared by many modern girls. They will enjoy seeing themselves on the pages of this sparkly text. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—As any library staff member will tell you, there can never be too many princess stories. While this collaboration between Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Hamilton, does not stand out as anything particularly different, it does have enough sparkle to keep young readers interested. Geraldine leads a rather ordinary life, and each page highlights a part of her mundane day. However, in the grand tradition of other literary, bedazzled mini-divas, Geraldine's imagination and love for the color pink brighten the daily grind of being a scab-kneed little girl. Readers will enjoy Geraldine's princess attitude and the vibrant fantasy brought to life through Davenier's ink and colored pencil illustrations. However, for girly girl stories with a bit more attitude, stick with reigning princesses Eloise, Fancy Nancy, and Olivia.—Sarah Townsend, Norfolk Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
The well-known actress/author and her daughter collaborate to create an eminently practical yet ebullient heroine. With delightful insouciance, young Geraldine assures readers that she knows without a doubt that she is a fairy princess. Much like a seasoned court lawyer providing expert testimony, Geraldine submits her evidence to convince the skeptics. From dawn to dusk, she takes readers through her day, highlighting the multitude of moments that reveal her inner royal sprite. Davenier's whimsical ink-and-colored-pencil illustrations enchant. Bedecked in a tiara and adorned in pink as she strides confidently along, Gerry exudes an undeniable joie de vivre. The mother-daughter team successfully demonstrates an understanding of that magical stage of childhood in which determination, desire and dreams can transform reality. Fellow princess-obsessed readers will easily recognize a kindred spirit; those whose thinking is more in line with Gerry's brother Stewart will see the pink sparkles on the cover and stay away. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316040501
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/18/2010
  • Series: Very Fairy Princess Series , #1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 85,963
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews is one of the most recognized figures in the world of entertainment, best known for her performances in The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and more recently, The Princess Diaries. Julie is the author of many beloved children's books, including Mandy, and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies debuted at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list and her memoir, Home, was #1.

Emma Walton Hamilton is a bestselling children's book author, editor, arts educator, and theater professional. Together with her mother, Julie Andrews, she has coauthored sixteen books for young readers including the Dumpy the Dump Truck series, Simeon's Gift, and The Great American Mousical. Her most recent book, for parents, educators, and caregivers, is Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment. The authors invite you to visit them online at www.julieandrewscollection.com.

Christine Davenier has illustrated many picture books including The First Thing My Mama Told Me by Susan Marie Swanson, for which she received a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year Award. She lives in Paris, France.

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Interviews & Essays

Interview with Emma Walton Hamilton

1. What was the inspiration behind The Very Fairy Princess?

We try to make each of our books as gender-balanced as possible, but a number of our early efforts turned out to have more boy-appeal than girl-appeal. It was time to balance that out a bit! Actually, what we really wanted to do was celebrate individuality. We wanted to write a story that encourages kids to rejoice in their own unique passions and talents – even if they’re different from that of their family or friends. We spend so much of our youth trying to conform to what we think the world “expects” of us… only to find out that we serve the world best by being ourselves. If we could help just one kid realize that authenticity leads to confidence, we’d be thrilled.

2. Geraldine believes she is a fairy princess. Did you think you were a princess or other character as a child?

Like my daughter, I lived a lot of my childhood in fantasy. I had a whole host of imaginary friends, and my step-sister Bridget and I had a number of stock characters we would play with each other. (Among the more memorable were a Native-American prince and princess named Romeo and Juliette Donkey Cloud!) We even created a whole fantasy land, ruled by made-up Gods and Goddesses, where we believed we would one day go. We wrote elaborate stories and drew pictures of our castle there, complete with a fountain that spewed every yummy beverage your heart desired. I still spend a lot of my life in fantasy, I think – it’s just that now I get to share the stories with others!

3. In the book, Geraldine refers to letting her “sparkle” out. What does that “sparkle” represent?

Gerry is convinced she’s a fairy princess because she has “a sparkly feeling of just knowing” inside her heart. Later, she says to her friend Delilah that “You can be whatever you want to be, you just have to let your sparkle out!” It’s about knowing what makes your heart sing, and then having the courage to share that with others. I think of it as inner light… whatever makes us feel most authentically ourselves, and most happy. It’s that thing that we lose track of time while doing!

4. What are some of the ways you “sparkle” now as an adult?

Well, I’m still writing, so that’s definitely one of them! I also love editing. I work as a freelance children’s book editor, and I think I have a knack for seeing the potential in something and helping to bring the best parts forward. (I love renovating old houses for the same reason.) Most of all, being with kids makes me sparkle. My own, especially - but also the ones I work with in the school programs I run. It’s the most rewarding thing in the world to be able to brighten a child’s day, or in some way add to their sense of self-worth. That really makes me sparkle!

5. Would you like to coauthor a book with your own daughter someday?

Absolutely! Or my son, for that matter! I think that would be heaven.

6. What do you believe are the key ingredients of a good picture book?

I’ve been teaching picture book writing for the past couple of years, and recently launched my own online course for aspiring children’s book authors (http://www.justwriteforkids.com). I also work as a freelance children’s book editor, so I’ve given this question considerable thought! My view – and it’s not unique – is that the key ingredients of a good picture book are: an engaging protagonist with whom young readers can identify, a problem to be solved that makes for a compelling plot journey, originality of voice or style, and a point of view that leaves readers with a valuable message or a question to consider – all in a lean 1000 words or less! I also think humor is a hugely valuable asset when it comes to picture books, though of course not every picture book has to be funny – but I so admire the ones that are! The necessary economy of picture book writing makes it so much more challenging that one might imagine. It really is an art form unto itself, and it’s taken my Mom and I many years to even begin to figure out how to do it, let alone do it well!

7. The Very Fairy Princess has an inspirational message. What were you trying to say to children with this book?

Gerry actually says it for us in the book: “You can be whatever you want to be. You just have to let your sparkle out!” She believes so completely in her fairy princess-ness, and lives her version of that truth so fully every day (despite the naysayers), that by the end of the book even her parents refer to Gerry as their “very fairy princess.”

I think what we really wanted to suggest was that doing what makes your heart sing paves the way for miracles to happen. If we are willing to be fully committed to and passionately involved in the pursuit of our dreams, then anything is possible. We wanted to give kids permission to be authentically themselves, and to have the guts to live out their fantasies. Interestingly enough, this may be as practical as it is inspirational. There’s quite a vibrant discussion taking place among child development specialists about the significance of imaginative play when it comes to cognitive, social and emotional development. It seems that there may be quite a strong connection between the degree to which a child engages in “make-believe,” or pretend play, and their later success in school and in life. All the more reason to let that “sparkle” out!

8. Do you have any other children’s book projects on the horizon? We’ve actually just completed our second poetry anthology, the sequel to “Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies.” This next book features poems and song that celebrate the holidays and seasons throughout the year. We have also recently completed the last two installments in the “Little Bo” series about a ship’s cat, and are beginning to think about another “Very Fairy Princess” book. There’s really never a time when we don’t have another project on the horizon, or idea in development!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 49 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Cute story!

    This story is very cute for little girls that love to play princess. It's good for self esteem.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Wheres the orange button?

    Needs the orange resd to me button? Otherwise a delightful story for little princesses.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    My daughter LOVES this book! We read it at least 5 times a week!

    My daughter LOVES this book! We read it at least 5 times a week! I love that while Geraldine is all about pink & princesses, she also loves to be outdoors and get her nails dirty & her knees scabby! An all-around girl! Cute pictures and a fun story line. We are buying this for her friend's birthday!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Cute Book!

    My 3 year old daughter loves this book! Very cute story.

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Wonderful Book

    My granddaughter is in the "princess stage" and this book has been a definite hit! Highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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