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Princess Peepers Hardcover – September 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Princess Peepers has always been secure in who she is, and is especially fond of her collection of fabulous eyeglasses. That is until she enters the Royal Academy for Perfect Princesses. The other royals make fun of her specs, causing her to pack them all away so she can be like everyone else. This leads to all sorts of mistakes: she misidentifies spaghetti as mud and string, the kitchen as the dungeon, animals as people, and a visiting prince as a horse. Luckily, a happy ending is in store for the hapless young woman as she and Prince Peerless, who is not wearing his glasses either, soon see that they are made for each other. Mourning's graphite and digital/collage illustrations combine figures in traditional costumes from different eras with lush backgrounds. The palette of pinks keeps the emphasis on sweet, even when some of the characters are not. Princess Peepers will circulate well and bring laughs during storytimes.—Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ
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A sure hit with fans of Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious. --Children's Literature
"...the story feels fresh throughout--no easy feat for a princess book." --Horn Book Guide
Calvert's tale of a bespectacled princess's rocky road to self-acceptance is rollicking good fun. Princess Peepers adores her plethora of eyewear, with what seems to be a pair of glasses for every occasion. However, when she attends the Royal Academy she is astonished to discover her spectacles are far from au courant. In a misguided attempt to satisfy others' expectations and fit in, she doffs her lenses. While the ensuing mishaps are appropriately silly and lighthearted, they do not conceal the compelling message that being true to one's self paves the road to happiness. Mourning's mixed-media illustrations of graphite and digital/collage present an intriguing blend of texture and color. Readers are bound to relish the interplay between what the text describes and the reality of the illustrations as Princess Peepers stumbles about sans specs. The ironic denouement is bound to please princess fans and their practical parents alike. --Kirkus Reviews, August 2008
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1. Princess Peepers cares about dressing up and accessorizing! Glasses are her fave.
2. The other princesses also care about dressing up and they attend the Academy for Perfect Princesses. They are mean girls who make fun of Princess Peepers' glasses and have all sorts of imaginative taunts. (Message for preschoolers: being mean is ordinary behavior. Here's how to do it and what to focus on: difference. Also: glasses are something you might get made fun of for! If you haven't been made fun of for your glasses just yet, well, here's how it works.)
3. There's going to be a dance where the princesses will all meet the one Grand Prince. Hooray!
4. Princess Peepers is embarrassed and hides her glasses away so she can impress the Prince at the ball.
5. Without her glasses, Princess Peepers bumps into things and doesn't recognize them. Apparently, in addition to lacking vision, she now also lacks the brains to figure out why she can't see, and simply goes around thinking that she's seeing things as they are (but mistaking everything for something else).
5. The Princess gets ready for the ball, sans glasses. She bumps into the Prince!
6. The Prince wears glasses! He likes the Princess! Now everyone wants to wear glasses. Message: little girls, not fitting in with the mean girls is fine! The opinion of the guy you're trying to impress matters. Fit in with him, and you'll live happily ever after.
It is possible to change the text so that it's a book about sharing. Here's another version, which goes with the pictures: Princess Peepers has magical glasses--she can do all sorts of magic with them. Everyone wants to borrow some of her magic glasses, but the princess doesn't want to share, and hides them in a treasure chest, refusing to play with the friends who want her glasses. As a result, she feels lonely, but she still can't share, so before the big dance, she leaves her glasses at home, safely locked up--but now she bumps into things. She bumps into Prince Peerless and sees that he has glasses too. She makes friends with him and the two decide they'll share glasses with everyone in the kingdom. They do, and everyone wears the magic glasses and lives happily ever after.
I wish this were the storyline--most girls in the age group for which this book is intended LIKE to wear glasses, if they do, and may not yet be aware that mean teasing about glasses even exists...why give them a primer on that? Why make them feel that fitting in is important? The fact that the final message is that girls will change how they look to impress boys is not something to show preschoolers, or to celebrate...preschool and kindergarten age boys and girls deserve better characters--and messages.
It has the main character (who wears glasses) being called hurtful names by all of her classmates and excluded by them. The author then goes on to have her remove her glasses as the answer to this ridicule. She then falls out a window and onto the prince who wears glasses. They go off together and all the princesses who were making fun of her are on the last page wearing glasses. "Great" morals for your child to learn - she got the guy so glasses are now cool???!!! Just horrible - don't waste your money.