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The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-be Hardcover – September 9, 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375826262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375826269
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,505,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susan Papademetris on May 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As the mother of a two-year-old, I am delighted when I find a book that both of us enjoy reading, since books get read over and over. This is one of those delightful books that we share.
The storyline is clever: the tale of the princess and the pea, as told from the pea's perspective. We learn about a prince who just can't seem to find the right princess (even when threatened with having his allowance withheld), the very polite princesses who sleep like babies on the multiple-mattressed bed, the pea's resolution to "do something!" and what comes of it.
The charming illustrations add to the attraction: vegetables of various sorts adorn the walls; even the queen's eyes are made of peas; and the front and back inside covers detail the "before" and "after" scenes in the palace garden.
While my daughter enjoys this book at age 2, I know that older children would be delighted, as well. A beginning reader could probably master the text after a few times through with help; in addition, the notion of telling a fairy tale from the perspective of some lesser character is one which could be used as a creative writing exercise in the early grades.
As for me, I will be on the lookout for more gems from Mini Grey!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently used this book during my lesson on fractured fairy tales. The students really enjoyed comparing and contrasting this version to the original fairy tale. You know that there are always two sides to every story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this book and read it over and over as requested! It is entertaining to adults and children alike and gladly known as a "repeat offender" in our household. You can't go wrong with this selection. Told from the point of view of the pea, it is sure to please your reader or one being read to!
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Format: Paperback
Yet another book written by a vegetable, who helps humans find love and live happily ever after. Oh, wait, that's not a common theme, so this book really does stand out! Inventive storyline plus terrific illustrations by Mini Grey make this another wonderful updated fairy tale. She always does the best job breathing new life into stories that I thought had been played out.

This is the well known story of the Princess and the Pea, but narrated now by the never-before-heard-from Pea. This super special veggie was born in the Palace Garden, where she was privy to hearing all the palace secrets. While the pea is growing on her vine, the Queen is nagging her son the Prince to find a bride and settle down. She gives him one year to complete his task, or his allowance will be revoked. Her threat is quite motivating and the Prince enters the dating pool.

None of the girls he meets are quite right. Too loud, too scruffy, too sleepy, too scary, too tidy, too pink, or too grumpy. The Queen has had it. She stalks into the kitchen, snatches a pea from a bowl and announces the prince will marry the first girl who can feel the tiny vegetable as she sleeps. And that is how the pea spends the next few months crammed under a pile of twenty mattresses and feather beds and a princess. Although the princesses might find the set-up extremely odd, they would never admit that to the Queen.

One night, the gardener who raised the Pea finds herself trying to sleep-balance on the towering stack. The Pea keeps her up all night, making the bed as uncomfortable as possible. Upon hearing of her restless night, the Queen declares the gardener to be the perfect bride (even if she does wear overalls to her wedding) thanks to the little pea.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as a belated gift for my niece's birthday and she was as delighted as I was. (It's a Mini Grey book, for heaven's sake - I had to preview it.) The book adds a modern twist to an old story, throwing in a little ecology for good measure. It was a delightful story and has set my young niece on the road to enjoying the incomparable Mini Grey. While I am glad I have young people to buy books for, I'll probably be sneaking peeks at Mini Grey (and Bad Kitty) books long after these kids have grown up.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderfully re-imagined tale of “The Princess and the Pea,” told from the perspective of the pea itself. A little pea, born in the Palace Allotment and picked from the pile by the Queen herself. The Queen is insistent that the Prince find a bride and, if he doesn’t get married within a year, she will stop his pocket money! The search is on – but the princesses he finds are too grumpy, too sleepy or have strange pets (pet frogs?!). Can the pea do anything to help solve the situation? This is a lovely story, full of humour, wonderful illustrations and an unusual twist to a familiar tale
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some books which are more fun for parents than kids, and this might be one of them. I found this retelling of the tale to be creative, yet oddly uncompelling. If your kids already know the story of the princess and the pea, then this postmodern tale might be amusing. I'm not a big fan of the traditional princess-marries-the-prince fairy tale, but this one didn't cut it for me or my kids. Since some reviewers seem to love it, I suggest you check it out of the library first to see what you think.
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