A princess learns a lesson about putting things away in Fields’ colorful debut rhyming storybook.
Princess Cupcake Jones wears her pink high-tops outside, sensible pom-pom slippers indoors, and her bright, multicolored tutu everywhere. She believes that horseback riding and picture painting are perfect activities to do in a tutu; she’d even sleep in it if Mommy, the queen, would let her. But during portrait day at the palace, Cupcake’s tutu goes missing. She first interrogates her dolls and stuffed animals with a serious, skeptical expression; after getting no clues, she wonders if the tutu has been stolen by fairies or by a witch flying on a broomstick. LaDuca’s softly shaded illustrations show Cupcake’s worried, inquisitive face as she looks up into her mother’s caring eyes; on the following page, readers see the witch and chubby cherubs that the princess imagines. When Cupcake’s mother suggests that she wear a dress for the portrait, she cries, “It just isn’t me! If I hurry I’ll find my tutu, you’ll see!” She then embarks on a frantic search for the missing garment. The book portrays the palace as a big, warm place—a cross between a fairy-tale dream and a contemporary home. Cupcake brings spunk and joie de vivre to her quest, as she finds possessions she thought she’d lost, including a red ball, a magic book and a pink teddy bear. Later, she encounters a kind-faced white-mustachioed cook; her father, the king; and a disappointingly tutu-less washing machine. Encouraged by Mommy’s advice to take better care with her belongings, Cupcake starts organizing, grabs a broom and does a blissful leap, duster in hand, over a twinkling floor. The princess eventually learns to appreciate her various possessions, and finds her tutu in a surprising place. Children are often motivated by deep attachments to objects, and Fields delivers a practical message, apparently aimed at a multiethnic, female audience. Despite a couple of moments of awkward diction, this book could become a favorite of both parents and youngsters.
A fresh, sweet and motivational children’s tale.