A prettily conceived and executed design, a decorative Eastern European sensibility and a fairly unconventional storyline make Princess Antonia stand out among the current crop of princesses.
Antonia has toys, gowns and “the largest book collection in the entire kingdom” but finds herself unaccountably bored. Her friends always seem to be busy: Rapunzel’s in her tower, Cinderella’s cleaning, Snow White’s coping with a household full of dwarves, and Sleeping Beauty’s always tired. One day, Antonia simply runs out of the castle, out of town and into the forest. She finds that all of her friends decided to escape that day, too. Soon, all five princesses are joined by Little Red Riding Hood and a whole bevy of forest denizens. After they reach the sea, each returns home, energized: Rapunzel bobs her hair, Sleeping Beauty learns to practice yoga, and Antonia decides to take her elephant (!) out to run, too. This winsome, slight tale gains strength from its collaged, computer-manipulated illustrations. There are floral patterns and furbelows galore. Geometrically formed bodies have pipestem limbs, faces sport comma-and–polka-dot features, and some amazing curlicues of red, blonde, brown and black hair sprout from these girls’ heads.
The bedizened, rose-colored cover will be enough to lure in young readers, and the rather formless storyline might even get them thinking. (Picture book. 4-7)