A nice addition to the series.

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THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA

From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the well-known Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale with a Russian setting.

The Once Upon a World series travels the globe setting familiar Western fairy tales in different locales. This latest addition to the series is set in Russia and tells the story of the “lonely young prince who wanted to fall in love” and of his parents’ insistence that the bride-to-be be a princess. After traveling far and wide and meeting many princesses who are not right for him, the prince returns home, disappointed. One rainy evening, a wet and cold, dark-haired princess appears at the castle door. Refreshingly, the prince and princess fall in love not because they are a prince and princess but because they have talked and found they have much in common: they have traveled widely, explored the same places, and had adventures. Mirtalipova’s illustrations have a pleasing folksy feel, many pages decorated with pretty flowery borders. One double-page spread of the princess being taken care of by a host of servants is particularly appealing. (With the exception of one brown-skinned princess, all the characters are white.) Though the text has been simplified and the presentation is in board-book format, the intended audience is not the toddler set. And the prince and princess? As with the traditional telling, the princess passes the pea test and they live happily ever after.

A nice addition to the series. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0019-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...

RAPUNZEL

From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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ALSO AN ANIMAL

In rhyming verse, a series of “if…then” statements presents animals and their young while expressing parental love.

Unfortunately, the slight concept is brought down by a number of missteps. The first is poor logic, evident from the opening parent-child animal pair: “If you were a calf, then I’d be a moose.” While it is true that baby moose are called calves, they are hardly the only animals whose young bear that moniker. Even children with very little exposure to the concept will likely know that baby cattle are also called calves, and they may well know that elephant and whale babies are called calves as well. So why, if they were a calf, would their parent necessarily be a moose? Several other examples share this weakness, including chicks (loons), kits (skunks), and pups (bats)—and these are just in the first two double-page spreads. Even when the name for the baby is sufficiently restrictive for the logic to work, stumbling verse often lets readers down: “If you were a cygnet, then I’d be a swan. / I’d teach you to ride on my back, just hop on!” Saylor’s cut-paper–collage illustrations are bright and attractive, depicting smiling but otherwise fairly realistic animal pairs. They replicate a frequent error, however, in representing a wasps’ nest instead of the beehive it’s meant to be (possibly wisely, there is no attempt to depict the “larva” of the verse).

Misses the mark . (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-746-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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