Princess Arabella learns that standing out is not necessarily a bad thing and that she can both stay true to herself and succeed as she starts her first day of school.
The young princess is excited to start school. She packs her golden pens and pencil sharpener, her books, and her “royal lunchbox” and is all set to have a marvelous day at her new school. But she doesn’t hear her parents encourage her to be good and to listen to her teacher, instead running pell-mell to school. When the beautiful princess, who has dark brown skin and round, black plaits, gets to her new classroom, she finds a diverse group of princesses practicing deportment and etiquette. Instead of balancing books on her head to “Walk with Grace,” Princess Arabella prefers to read the books. Rather than cutting ribbons, Princess Arabella prefers to cut paper-animal chains. In math class, Princess Arabella finds the problem (adding crowns) “silly” and laments, “I don’t like school anymore!” Happily, when the royal teacher (a black woman in a tweed suit) asks the princesses to bring their favorite animals to school, Princess Arabella is excited to come back and show off hers. Princess Arabella’s ebullience in this Belgian import is contagious, and readers will be delighted to learn that Princess Arabella and the Giant Cake will be out in the fall.
Using bright colors and brilliant prints, Freeman encourages young readers to be themselves. (Picture book. 3-6)