Humorous rhymes and comical pictures compare stereotypical expectations of princesses and dragons, ending with a sly observation.
On the first verso, a froglike creature is reading a book that is explained on the recto: “Would you rather be a princess or a dragon? You’ll never know which one to be until you’ve tried. / If you want to be a princess or a dragon, here’s a book that might help you decide.” The text goes on to compare such “truisms” as princesses’ preference for the color pink and dragons’ for green; bubble baths vs. dirt and dainty eating vs. gorging are a couple of the other sets of oppositions. Striving for consistent rhyme can be a challenge: it’s a stretch to think of “a perfect princess wave” as the opposite of looking for “the perfect dragon cave.” The rhymes do not always scan well, but the combination of mixed-media cartoon art and lighthearted text will keep young children engaged. The face of the princess is a few shades darker than lily-white, topped by wavy auburn hair; the friendly-appearing dragon seems to be cut from textured green paper, its features inked on top. The use of photographed pink bubble wrap for the princess’s bubble bath adds to the frivolous mood. The ending combines a not-very-subtle reminder about the need to question behavioral expectations for children with a sight gag.
Fun to read and visually appealing but unlikely to be a perennial favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)