Reviews for Princesses Have a Ball


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 November 2002
K-Gr. 3. This retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" features a multicultural lineup of princesses whose idea of having a ball is shooting hoops. Knowing their dad would disapprove of their behavior, the girls sneak out at night to play, but their worn out shoes make the king suspicious. At the king's invitation, detectives invade the castle to solve the mystery of the tattered shoes, but a clever cobbler named Jack figures things out first: "It's clear to me that these shoes were worn out athletically." Instead of tattling on the princesses, Jack makes them some great high-tops and gives them some good advice: "Why not tell your dad? He should see you play!" So the girls stage their own "ball" and go public with their favorite pastime. The spirited rhyming text begs to be read aloud, and Cravath's animated illustrations depict the princesses' high jinks in single- and double-page pictures, which tell the story visually for prereaders. Kids will have fun comparing this fresh take with the original story. ((Reviewed November 1, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Spring
When a king notices that his twelve daughters' shoes are in tatters, cobbler Jack discovers that the princesses spend their nights playing basketball. So Jack ""design[s] a shoe / with a rubber sole"" and encourages the princesses to come clean to their dad. In this inspired and sturdy update, Bateman's bouncing, bounding rhymes are taut and economical, and Cravath's cartoony images contain witty modern details. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2003 #1
One morning, a king notices that his twelve daughtersÆ shoes are in tatters-hardly prince-luring footwear. The next morning, the replacements are also ruined, so cobbler Jack turns sleuth and discovers that the princesses spend their nights playing basketball in the castle basement. Jack is instantly on the job: ôHe designed a shoe / with a rubber sole, / and a high-topped edge / to stop ankle roll.ö The princesses are thrilled and, with JackÆs encouragement, decide to come clean to their dad. They invite him to ôa ball / of our very own,ö where the princesses compete against each other and showboat, Harlem Globetrotters-style. Now Jack has another order to fill: ôSince the referee / also needs a pair, / there are special shoes / for the king to wear.ö This ôTwelve Dancing Princessesö update is so inspired and sturdy that a lesser author and illustrator could have simply phoned in their parts. But BatemanÆs bouncing, bounding rhymes are as taut and economical as a lay-up, and CravathÆs mildly cartoony images contain delectable modern details: the princesses, who are of many different ethnicities, perform at their ôballö in contemporary basketball get-ups; the kingÆs throne is a La-Z-Boy facing a TV. Although the storyÆs not a whit preachy, its consciousness remains raised through the end: donÆt expect any of the princesses to marry Jack. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 August #2
Maybe princesses used to dream of marrying princes and dancing at formal balls, but here are twelve contemporary ones with something else in mind. Their puzzled royal father can't figure out how they go through elegant shoes so rapidly, but a young cobbler cottons on: "It's strange, / but it's clear to me / that these shoes were worn out / athletically." A bit of nocturnal spying tells the tale--the princesses have taken to spending every night shooting hoops on an underground court. The cobbler proceeds to invent high-tops, and in no time the royal court's being treated to a "ball" of a different sort. Cravath (I Hate Weddings, not reviewed, etc.) depicts smiling princesses of varied hair and skin color in bright, cleanly drawn watercolors; King dad looks like a typical suburban father, wearing a knit shirt under his fur-trimmed cape and ensconced in a Barcalounger with his TV remote. Wisely, the cobbler makes dad his own high-tops since he'll need them as the referee. Bateman's (Hunting the Daddyosaurus, p. 176, etc.) ear for rhythm fails her at times, but her rhymed update of this classic tale trips cheerfully along nonetheless. (Picture book/folktale. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 July #3
Bateman (Farm Flu) gives this retelling of the 12 dancing princesses a shot of girl-power, despite a rather relentless rhyme scheme. The dozen royal daughters wear out their shoes every night not because they ve been ballroom dancing, but because they ve been playing basketball. In Cravath s (He Saves the Day) ink-and-wash spreads, the king appears as a pudgy suburbanite in a polo shirt and an ermine cape. He protests that the girls should be dreaming of a prince/ and your wedding day. The multicultural sisters all dressed in lovely princess gowns, some in glasses, some with curly hair and some with dreadlocks foil their father s spies. Jack the cobbler, though, gets to the bottom of it: he finds the females in the basement. They made up two teams,/ with two substitutes,/ And they ran and passed/ and they shouted, SHOOT! To the girls delight, Jack designs high-tops for them. When their father discovers their new talent, he concedes, Even royalty is allowed some fun,/ and I m proud of you,/ each and every one. Cravath s drawings feature shots from odd angles and cute visuals for the grown-ups (a 12-unit canopy bed, a banner towed by an airplane over the kingdom offering a Big Reward for solving the mystery). The 12 unnamed princesses tend to blur into a single character, despite Cravath s attempts to differentiate them in the artwork, and the driving beat tends to overwhelm the narrative. Ages 7-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2002 December
Gr 1-4-In an athletic twist on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," these nocturnal royal sisters are dancing around a basketball court (divided into two teams and two substitutes). It takes the clever cobbler to solve the mystery of their worn-out shoes and to come up with better footwear for these WNBA wanna-bes. "He designed a shoe/with a rubber sole,/and a high-topped edge/to stop ankle roll./He put arch supports/in the proper places,/and ditched pink ribbons/for sturdy laces." Finally, at a fancy dress ball, the princesses reveal their dribbling talents, which not only delight the king, but also inspire him to be their new referee. Bateman's verse uses wordplay and offers a fresh look at the beloved story. Cravath's cartoon pictures have just the right look, adding amusing anachronistic features such as an airplane advertising a big reward while men in tights and women in ball gowns frolic below. Pair this inventive story with any of the more traditional versions for a fun look at classic tales and their retreads.-Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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