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by Vivian French & illustrated by Elizabeth Harbour

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-7636-0307-4
Publisher: Candlewick

French (Once Upon a Picnic, 1996, etc.) mirrors Hans Christian Andersen in an original Thumbelina-like fairy tale, in which a child, magically born of a thistle, comes to a childless king and queen. They are so happy that they build protective gates and walls around the kingdom and garden to keep every harm and everyone away from their beloved daughter. The princess misses the children she once laughed and played with, and in her isolation grows more and more despondent, until little is left but a wisp. Sadly, she blows away like a seed in the wind, but not until her true work is done. The story, with its lovely sentiments, is almost overwhelmed by the intentionally flowery language, but some children will take to the telling with their whole hearts. Delicate watercolor illustrations make use of borders to gracefully frame text and depict elongated toy-soldier-like figures prancing among the topiaries. Especially enchanting is the bookmaking_a fine design on creamy paper that feels satiny to the touch. (Picture book. 5-8)