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The Apple-Pip Princess Hardcover – March 25, 2008
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*Starred Review* Ray celebrates the transforming power of growing things in this beautiful, original fairy tale. A once-green kingdom turns into a barren dust bowl after a queen’s death. The king, concerned about his land’s future, challenges his three daughters to “do something to make your mark.” The creator of the best project will rule the kingdom. Two princesses build towering structures, but the youngest, Serenity, plucks a tiny apple seed from a box of nature’s treasures that belonged to her mother. That seed’s sprout inspires more planting, and soon the kingdom becomes a lush paradise, and Serenity is named the new ruler. Ray’s rich language and sure pacing create a winning read-aloud, but it’s the shining collage artwork that really stands out. Mixing color photos into her typically fine, elaborately decorated illustrations, Ray creates dramatic scenes of a kingdom’s renewal while highlighting the close ties among the brown-skinned princesses and the kingdom’s diverse people. Link this celebratory story Claire Nivola’s Planting the Trees of Kenya (2008). Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg
About the Author
Jane Ray has illustrated numerous award-winning children’s books, including LUGALBANDA: THE BOY WHO GOT CAUGHT UP IN A WAR by Kathy Henderson and SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET by Michael Rosen. She lives in London.
Top customer reviews
The answer is probably never, unless you make a special effort. And even then... close to never.
This is not a traditional fairy tale, nor a retelling of one. But it reads like it is. Three princesses are competing to see which one will inherit the kingdom. Two of them go waaaaaay overboard and requisition all the metal and wood in the kingdom (even roofs and fences and bells) to build towers to aggrandize themselves. ("They'll be so happy to be ruled by me, they won't mind being poor and hungry!" Yeah, right. Plus, they're throwing people willy-nilly into the dungeon.)
The third, aptly named Serenity, fears she can't do anything, but she uses her mother's gift to try, and - with the gift and with help from the rest of her country - replants, apparently, the entire countryside. In a week. Well, there's some magic involved, and it flows together nicely.
The language is rich and deep, and very evocative. It is a bit of a long story, and some of the metaphors involved may go right over a smaller child's head - keep the 4 - 8 age range in mind.