Happily-ever-after with a STEM feminist twist: how very timely.


From the Princess Stories series

Princess Dara is no damsel in distress.

In this early reader chapter book based on a Cambodian tale, “The Story of Princess Amaradevi,” the princess Dara is a Renaissance woman with talents in music, writing, painting, law, science and engineering. She meets her match in Rith, a young man who is “also very skilled at planning and drawing.” They work on a project in Dara’s father’s kingdom, and they fall in love and marry. Unfortunately, three conniving ministers in the kingdom find the couple’s surprise plans for a summer palace for the king, and while Dara is away, they falsely label them as “King Rith’s Palace.” The king is fooled by their ruse and banishes Rith. Dara is devastated when she returns and determines to clear her husband’s name. When the three ministers each ask for her hand in marriage, she sees through their pretenses and conspires with her maid, Chenda, to trick them. Drawing upon her engineering skills, she succeeds and presents evidence of their malfeasance to her father, who sends them away and reunites her with Rith. Brightly colored acrylic-and-graphite illustrations reinforce the developing plot and have a naïve quality that suits the folkloric sensibility of the story.

Happily-ever-after with a STEM feminist twist: how very timely. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-78285-103-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.


A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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