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Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut Paperback – 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Canadian literary icon Atwood takes a break from serious fiction and cuts loose with this deliciously silly romp. Preoccupied with her own prettiness, Prunella, a positive pill of a princess, passes her time peering into a pocket mirror to see her perfect dimples; planning nuptials with a prince who has piles of pin money; and producing pandemonium for her pained parents, pets and the parlormaids paid to pick up after her. She gets her comeuppance when she provokes a "wrinkly-wristed" wise woman, who places on the princess's proboscis a purple peanut that won't go away until she performs three good deeds. All's well that ends well, however, and prudence wins out over pride. The fun is infectious, and greatly amplified by Kovalski's (Pizza for Breakfast) droll illustrations. It's also a particularly pleasing read-aloud, as Atwood's outrageous alliteration ("for supper she fed Prunella some parsley and paprika soup, a pile of potted pigeon and pickerel pancakes, and some pepper and porridge preserve, on a pretty plate patterned with pendulous poppies") proves irresistible. Perfectly peachy. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 3^-5. Princess Prunella is proud, prissy, and pretty. She plans to marry a rich, pinheaded prince who will praise her and pamper her. But a Wise Woman puts a spell on Prunella, and the princess sprouts a purple peanut on her nose, which disappears only when she gives up her spoiled, selfish ways. Atwood's funny parody mocks many of the old traditional tales, especially the "Princess and the Pea." The story also laughs at everyone's certainty that the pimple on your nose is a lurid monstrosity. Kids will enjoy the alliterative wordplay, though it does get to be a bit much at times, like a cute private joke played out too long. You find yourself skipping some of the lists. In contrast, the moments of spare prose are dramatic: "You are not pretty inside, just as I am not poor," the Wise Woman tells the princess. Kovalski's line-and-watercolor pictures evoke a Marie Antoinette^-style palace, with wry images and slapstick action that ridicule the pretension and subvert the silly surfaces. Kids will enjoy this feminist fractured fairy tale farce. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Prunella, a proud, prissy, princess, plans to marry a pinheaded prince who will pamper her--until a wise old woman's spell puts a purple peanut on the princess's pretty nose.
See, the book is written in profound proliferation of purposely placed "p" words.
It is a real thoroughgoing exercise in alliteration.
Like, here are a few example sentences:
"Princess Prunella lived in a pink palace with her pinheaded parents, Princess Patty and Prince Peter, her three plump pussycats, Patience, Prue and Pringle, and her puppy dog, Pug."
Or, I loved this one: "And for supper she fed Prunella some parsley and paprika soup, a pile of potted pigeon and pike and pickerel pancakes, and some pepper and porridge preserve, on a pretty plate patterned with pendulous poppies."
This is not Atwood's first or only foray into alliterative books for kids. There is also one called Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes, and the soon-to-be-published Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda.
She says: "Princess Prunella began as a story I used to tell my little girl when I was brushing out her long curly hair. I was used to telling stories to children, as I worked with them a lot when I was a teen-ager. I was a camp counsellor, for instance. Also I had a much younger sister -- I was in charge of her Hallowe'en birthday party, which was always a dramatic event. I used to paint my face green, gather the children underneath the dining room table, turn out all the lights, and tell them ghost stories. In addition to that, I had a puppet show, which I ran with a friend of mine. We started out by doing our puppet show at kids' birthday parties, and then went on to give it at company Christmas parties."
Well, I have just read the story, and I loved it.
And every good children's story needs good illustrations, am I right?
Well, the illustrations in this book are just great. They are the work of Maryann Kovalski.
I'm sure I have stared at these pictures longer than a kid would have. She uses a lot of pastel color, and the expressions on each character, especially the animals, is superb.
And when The Wise Woman's bag upsets on the stairway, spilling its contents, we see among the things scattered, a copy of the Enquirer, and the front page reads: 98-YR OLD WOMAN WEDS 22-YR OLD MAN! "I LOVE HER. TO ME SHE LOOKS 80."
And when the peanut-nosed Prunella is served supper in bed, the servant has this emblazoned on her apron, I HATE TO COOK.
Some comic relief for the adult reader of the story....
Terrific. Atwood. As always.