Who is prettiest: Princess Allie, Princess Mellie or Princess Libby?
When Princess Mellie declares that she is, since “[i]t isn’t everyone who has purple hair,” Allie and Libby beg to differ. To settle the dispute, the princesses arrange to have a beauty contest and pick “four of the cleverest girls in the land” to be the judges. The text’s playful language pokes good-natured fun at the princesses’ self-absorption with their looks, as each tries to outdo the others in primping. On their separate ways to the contest, however, each spunky princess happens upon an emergency and does not hesitate to help—with the result that their carefully crafted ensembles are ruined. When they are lauded by the judges for being the “yuckiest,” “drippiest” and “muddiest,” readers understand that pretty may not be so important after all. This is the third princess picture book by Lum and Hellard (Princesses Are NOT Perfect, 2010, etc.), and their collaboration sings. The witty narrative is supported and enhanced by the artfully froufrou watercolor illustrations in pastel colors. Full of droll visual details not mentioned in the text (such as the way the animals in the story interact), these extras add richness and layers to the story.
Exuberant and humorous, this pretty book has style and, yes, substance. (Picture book. 2-6)