Schneider’s playful take on the beauty makeover upends expectations with comedic—and powerful—results.
When Amelia receives Princess Sparkle-Heart, the girl and doll become fast friends. From dancing and tea parties to weddings and secrets, they share almost everything—much to the chagrin of the family dog. Growling and glowering his way across spreads, the canine has it in for the doll. So it’s no surprise when tragedy strikes and Sparkle-Heart is torn to shreds. But all is not lost, as Amelia and her mom make the doll anew. With extra stuffing for “protection,” a few extra button eyes (because it’s hard to choose “just two”), some “good teeth” and a comic-book–inspired outfit, the transformation is complete. After a suspenseful makeover reveal, it’s clear Amelia adores her now-monsterlike doll more than ever—and in that moment, Schneider redefines beauty and what is “princess.” Meticulous pen, ink and watercolor illustrations perfectly capture Amelia’s emotions; she is reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking, with her red, statement hairdo, blue denim overalls and plucky personality. Cinematic illustrations play with proportion and perspective, echoing the work of comic-book luminaries Geof Darrow and Moebius. A clever cover, with its curvy, bedazzled, pink title splashed across the page, acts as a beacon to the princess-obsessed, while craft-licious lettering toward the bottom hints at the tale’s interior.
A testament to the joy of creation and a celebration of a different kind of beauty—sparkling indeed. (Picture book. 4-7)