A damsel-in-training saves her own skin.
LillyBelle adores tea parties, but she is not the standard student at Lady Frilly’s School for Damsels: She enjoys playing loud music and baking absurdly tall cakes. LillyBelle also refuses to accept Lady Frilly’s lesson that damsels are meant to be kidnapped and saved, never to properly fend for themselves. One day, while out playing hopscotch, LillyBelle is abducted by a witch, but LillyBelle isn’t afraid. Instead of waiting for a prince or a knight or a wizard to save her, LillyBelle takes matters into her own hands to decide her own fate. But for LillyBelle, escaping the witch is just the beginning of a long journey back home that finds her using her baking skills, fondness for loud music, and even Lady Frilly’s deportment lessons to return home unharmed. Pastro effectively uses both the traditional rule of three and oft-seen fairy-tale characters to subvert a particularly pernicious fairy-tale trope. The picture book’s lessons of self-empowerment, the importance of dialogue, and the value of understanding are efficiently rendered, aided by rounded, earth-toned illustrations that create a grounded fairy-tale world little readers will enjoy. LillyBelle has beige skin and fluffy black hair; her classmates are somewhat diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 13% of actual size.)
An empowering fairy tale.(Picture book. 4-7)