Feeding the princess craze, this lift-the flap book features a young royal whose bird with beautiful singing voice breaks free from its cage.
The girl tries to catch him, encountering “the handsome lords and the sparkling ladies,” “the busy maids and the fussy chefs,” and “the prowling cats and the scuttling mice,” who all repeat the refrain: “Fly, birdie, fly away!” Finally, the princess catches the bird and imprisons it again, but it will no longer sing. Difficult lesson learned, she liberates the proud creature, but in this frothy fairy-tale world, many birds, including her former pet, now come to entertain her every evening. The predictable storyline is enhanced by a counting game. There are eight double-page spreads with 10 objects to find in each. The musical notes, horns, pears, mice, keys, butterflies, birds, and stars are easy to spot even on very busy pages, although there is usually one that is half hidden. The white-skinned, black-haired princess wears a short dark dress and knee socks, and she’s a little out of place among the medieval costumes of the courtiers. Pinks and blues of all shades dominate the tall cardboard pages.
Towers and stairways and lots of curlicues will intrigue some viewers, but this sweet concoction of a gift book may have a limited audience. (Picture book. 4-6)