Books by Herman Auch

Released: March 15, 2002

The Auch husband-and-wife team (I Was a Third-Grade Spy, 2001, etc.) successfully collaborate on their first picture book, a delightful fairy-tale hodgepodge with a wonderful message about happily-ever-after. In an unexpected career change, Princess Paulina's father moves the family out of the castle and takes up woodcarving. But Paulina misses the job of princess. So when she hears that Queen Zelda is searching for a true princess to marry her son, she dusts off her tiara and tucks some garlic into her bodice for good luck (along with some sweet-smelling herbs to cover up the stench). The 12 competing princesses must pass several tests, including such time-honored favorites as the pea-under-the-mattress trick and the trying-on of the glass slipper. Finally, only three remain for the cooking test. But by this time, Paulina's sassy comments have not made her the favorite of the Queen. Her competition leaves her with little in the way of ingredients, and Paulina's attempts at cooking make only a gloppy mess. In desperation, Paulina stirs the fireplace coals, throws the garlic on the conglomeration for good luck (along with some sweet-smelling herbs to cover up the stench), and begins to plan her escape. But lo and behold, her meal is the favorite, and she inadvertently christens it "pizza." However, in a move similar to Elizabeth's in Robert Munsch's Paper Bag Princess (1988), Paulina decides she doesn't want to marry Prince Drupert after all, especially if it means having Zelda for a mother-in-law. So she goes back to the village and opens The Pizza Palace, where Zelda and Drupert dine every Thursday. Herman Auch's brightly colored drawings add humor and detail to the story: Prince Drupert looks the part of royal drip, Queen Zelda fits the stereotype of grouchy mother-in-law, and Paulina's expressions are especially revealing. With its can-do heroine and its message of "marriage isn't everything," this will appeal to everyone—but should definitely be required reading for young girls. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >