In this clever retelling of a common story, a king is determined to find the perfect prince for his lovely daughter.
So obsessed is the king that he vows to keep watch over the princess day and night—never sleeping—until he locates this perfect prince. Many princes seek the king’s favor, but he turns them all away, finding a fatal flaw in each. Undeterred, the princes try all manner of tricks and techniques to send the king off to dreamland, hoping for a chance to court the princess directly. The king proves impossible to fool, however, until a crafty farm boy enters the scene. He ultimately cons the king into counting 100 sheep, and, finally, the king is out like a light. He wakes to find the princess happy with the farmer, and a lavish wedding follows. Swain’s dynamic and appealing watercolor-and–color-pencil illustrations add charm, whimsy and amusing details to the happily-ever-after tale. For all the fun, though, there is also a bit of creepiness here—what with the father determined to watch his daughter every moment of the day until he marries her off and the princess sorely lacking a sense of agency.
For pluckier princesses, try Cornelia Funke and Kerstin Meyer’s Princess Pigsty (2007) and Mary Jane and Herman Auch’s The Princess and the Pizza (2008). (Picture book. 3-6)