Angelica, also known as Jelly, is a great storyteller, but this time her imagination could get her into a heap of trouble in this series opener.
Jelly’s best audience is her friend Maddie, who always believes her stories, but this summer Jelly is going to sleepaway camp without her. At camp, Jelly finds herself living in a doozy of a story: she is Princess Angelica, whose “auntie Kate,” the Duchess of Cambridge, goes to all of her birthday parties; who rides the crocodiles in the castle moat; and who can have milkshakes whenever she wants. Jelly, via her frank first-person narration, contemplates whether or not to tell the truth, but she fears the other girls won’t think she’s so special if they know the real Jelly. Also, she loves being called “Your Majesty” and having the others happily do her chores. When Maddie joins the camp and blows Jelly’s cover, Jelly must earn friendship by being herself. Although Jelly’s mother disapproves of her father’s habit of calling her “Princess” because it reinforces gender stereotypes and snobbishness, Princess Angelica is a kind feminist who makes castle repairs and befriends all who meet her. The black-and-white illustrations suggest Jelly is mixed-race; Joon, one of her bunkmates, is Asian; other characters seem to be white.
An unassuming summer-camp story about being yourself. (Fiction. 7-10)