What to do when you’re feeling blue?
In this original fairy tale, Princess Claire is feeling out of sorts. When a page notices and informs her parents, she tells them that she is "full of empty." Drawings in a rich, jewel-toned palette, which shifts with each double-page spread, show the princess as a variety of solutions is explored. The doctor says she’s fine. Food, dance, music, stories, and toys are offered up by various members of the multiracial kingdom—Claire herself is mixed-race—but to no avail. It's not until the page encourages her parents to reassure her that they are not too busy to play with her that things look up. While the intentions here—to give credence to feelings, to encourage parental attention—are laudable, the message seems directed toward parents rather than children; Claire does not learn anything herself. The kingdom in which race is not an issue, the Middle Eastern setting, and the egalitarian recognition of the page’s help are all more than welcome. Overall, though, the story seems a vehicle for inclusion of social-emotional issues and often ignored facets of global culture rather than a strong, child-focused tale in its own right. Still, young listeners will enjoy the fairy-tale aspect, the appealing pictures, and the satisfying ending, in which Claire gets the comfort and company she needs.
An inclusive tale with the needs of a child at heart. (Picture book. 4-8)