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by Babette Cole & illustrated by Babette Cole

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-24349-6
Publisher: Putnam

Though probably intended to be no more than a breezy lesson in domestic politics paired to a cautionary tale on the dangers of not reading labels carefully, this sequel to Princess Smartypants (1987) takes a discomfiting turn when the ultra-capable young Royal inadvertently produces a brown-skinned baby. Smartypants is initially delighted when the box of what she thinks is instant gravy produces a bowlful of grinning, extra-strength toddler, but the child turns out to be a discouraging amount of work, wreaking havoc in the palace, and needing rescue after being kidnapped by evil Count Rottenghut. The Princess begins having second thoughts about being a parent, but then comes up with a perfect way to keep the baby out of trouble: siblings—twin baby dragons, in this case. Whether zooming through the air on dragon-back or multitasking with laptop and telephone (Princess model, what else?) while minding the lads, overall-clad Smartypants exudes a salutary self-confidence—but the baby, with his big white eyes, gleeful grin and ash-dark skin, skates close enough to caricature that American audiences, at least, may wince. (Picture book. 6-8)