Surprises abound and social conventions turn upside down in debut author Gribble’s wacky, lighthearted riff on the fairy-tale tradition.
Intelligent, kindhearted Katy is an ordinary girl with a decidedly improper penchant for chewing gum. Her parents have never been thrilled with her bubble-gum fixation, so when the family is invited to celebrate Prince Will’s birthday, she is forced to quit her unseemly habit before the ball. She’s melancholy about the prospect of relinquishing her bubble gum, but she resolves to give it up before the party. On the night of the ball, everything seems poised for a perfect royal evening, but when a forbidden bubble materializes just as Katy is curtsying to the queen, no one will believe that she wasn’t the culprit. Displeased by this breach in decorum, the queen is ready to banish Katy from the kingdom, until a surprising new friend appears, and Katy remains stubbornly devoted to her bubble gum. This tongue-in-cheek, quirky picture book seems to revel in its elevated vocabulary and punchy, unpatterned rhyme, although the use of wordplay and alliteration sometimes sounds forced and excessive. The cartoonish, pastel illustrations are a perfect complement to the text, with bright shades of magenta and endearing animals on nearly every page. References to the royal family occur throughout, from the irreverent illustrations to the playful depiction of the queen’s corgis, though it’s hard to pinpoint the exact meaning of the satire, if there is one. It’s difficult to become fully invested in the decidedly trivial conflict, but the book offers enough fun and modern-day appeal to intrigue young readers anyway. The plot and premise may be bizarre, but the silly, upbeat plot twists make this a delightful book to read aloud to wannabe princesses and royal enthusiasts alike.
A zany, comedic fairy tale with a contemporary twist.