At last, the true story behind the Princess and the Pea! (Come on, did you really think a princess could feel a pea through 20 mattresses?) In this retelling of the classic fairy tale we're finally presented with the pea's-eye view. This fresh green perspective allows us to see that the tiny legume held lofty expectations from the early days in the pod. We also learn something we suspected all along--the whole thing went down a little differently than rumors held. (One can imagine a whole line of revisionist fairy tales recast from the eyes of crucial inanimates--the beanstalk, the glass slipper, the red riding hood.)
Grey's bright, whimsical illustrations will help distract readers from the text's choppy timeline and odd capitalization, and observant young viewers will spot early on a key player in the finale. Note: While the story may give kids a new respect for vegetables, we can't promise that means they'll start eating them. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-The "real story" of the Princess and the Pea is finally told from the pea's point of view. It begins its story in the palace garden, nestled in a pod with its brothers and sisters. It just knew it was destined for greatness and was not surprised when it was picked from the pile of shelled peas and taken to the queen. The prince has just returned home after a year of fruitless searching for a bride and the queen is not happy. She places an ad in the newspaper for REAL princesses and spends months testing young women with the pea-under-the-mattress trick. One stormy night, there is a knock on the door and there stands a young woman with a basket of fresh veggies. Without a chance to say a word, she is whisked off to a bedroom and placed on the top of 20 mattresses. The little pea recognizes her as its beloved gardener and decides to take action. All night long it whispers into her ear, "There is something Large and Round and very Uncomfortable in the bed under you." The rest is history. This story lacks the zing and energy and cohesiveness of other spoofs such as Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (Viking, 1989). The gardening touches in the quirky illustrations add an element of fun, but even the queen's carrot nose and pea eyes cannot save the rambling tale. Readers are left hoping for more "inside dirt" than is delivered here.Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN
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