All princesses are not alike. Some are clever, some are spoiled, some are loyal, some are even ugly--so readers learn in Tym's collection of seven familiar folk and fairy tales from different cultures. The title is slightly misleading in that not every story stars a princess (Does the tale of King Midas, who turns his beloved daughter into lifeless gold, qualify?). Tym narrates in a chatty, occasionally arch voice, generously sprinkled with "believe me" and "I think you'd agree," and she often addresses the reader directly: "Are you with me so far?" The British spellings, turns of phrase and sentence structure immediately peg this book as an import (it was first published in the U.K.). Williams's soft, highly romanticized illustrations, featuring many flowing-haired girls in long gowns, can be an odd match for the sometimes vinegary tone ("Sometimes, good looks, royal blood and pots of money are a recipe for only one thing--a spoilt little madam"). However, the lushness of the many full-spread pictures and ample vignettes exert an undeniable charm. Ages 7-9. (Aug.)[Page 184]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Gr 2-5--From Japan's seas to the Aztecs' lands, seven traditional tales are vividly retold, including the classic "The Frog Prince" and "The Golden Touch." In "The Pigman and the Princess," a shallow royal humorously receives her comeuppance. "Kate Crackernuts" introduces two princesses, two princes, and one conniving queen, and "The Lemon Princess" features Eastern enchantment. Several selections capture the despair over lost love, including "The Kingdom Under the Sea." The subdued hues, featured in double-page illustrations and vignettes, serve to separate the selections. Soft lines add to the stories' moods. The author is a strong storyteller, personally engaging readers. She foreshadows the impending grief in "Popocatepetl and the Princess": "Sometimes, a story is sad enough to make you shed a tear but beautiful enough to make you hold it in your heart for ever-I hope you will agree that this is a story like that." Through rich language, these selections are well suited for reading aloud or independently. Unfortunately, there are no sources.--Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC[Page 116]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.