Reviews for Princess and the Pea
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 July 2001
Ages 5-7. This version of the familiar princess-and-the-pea story has a few neat twists: the queen mum has a yen for gems (except opals), the princess dresses like a grease monkey, and peas have nothing to do with keeping anyone awake. Unfortunately, there's not much pizzazz to the telling. It's the artwork that's great. The personalities come alive in Vaes' quirky, comical characterizations. Settings and costumes (stylized 1940s garb) burst from the pages in spectacular gemstone colors--coral, jade, and amethyst--heightened with burnished gold details. Peas pop up everywhere, of course, and kids will have fun searching them out: on the dinner table, to be sure,^B but also in lots of less-expected places. ((Reviewed July 2001))Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Spring
The familiar princess-and-pea tale has been freshened up and modernized to include a prince trying to get married around his motherÆs obstructionism and a princess who doubles as a car-repair mechanic. The stylishly caricatured illustrations show courtiers with features twisted until theyÆre practically cubist, a grease-spotted princess, and plenty of incidental peas. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2001 July #1
In this witty makeover of the Andersen tale, a grasping queen almost corners the diamond market before an opal-and an Opaline-derail her scheme. After forbidding any other engagements in the kingdom until Prince Ralph is hitched, Queen Frieda proceeds to set tests that none of the candidate princesses, despite expertise in areas as diverse as yo-yo tricks and cyberspace-ecology, can pass. Prince Ralph drives off in high dudgeon-or actually, in a car, which breaks down on an isolated road. Enter grease-spattered Opaline von Highbredde, tow-truck driver and crown princess of neighboring Lower Crestalia. It's love at first sight. Vaes (Puss in Boots, 1992, etc.) places doll-like figures into elegant Edwardian (or thereabouts) settings, and even Opaline, despite her spotted overalls, stands with a dancer's grace, not a hair out of place. Perched atop 20 mattresses, the princess spends a sleepless night, not because of the pea at the bottom, but because the huge opal she wears around her neck has caught in her long hair and is lodged in the small of her back. Even the Queen blesses the happy couple the next morning-once she finds out about the huge fortune Opaline stands to inherit. There's a theatrical air to the story and pictures here, which comes as no surprise, as Vaes is a set designer for the New York City Ballet. Winning. (Picture book. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2001 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 July #4
With droll illustrations and a complicated plot, Vaës's (Reynard the Fox) retelling features an old-fashioned backdrop for a grease-spattered princess in mechanic's overalls who can fix a broken fan belt and match wits with a cranky queen. Gem-loving Queen Frieda decides to ban all weddings in the kingdom until someone is found to marry Prince Ralph; if people aren't buying engagements rings, she can corner the market in diamonds. The narrative contains some deliciously wicked satire, as when the queen presents the princesses vying for the prince's hand like Miss America contestants. After describing one finalist, Princess Penelope, as "an expert in the field of solar ethnicology," the queen asks her to demonstrate tricks with two yo-yos. A gypsy woman tells the queen that an opal would change her life, but she is not prepared for Princess Opal whose opal necklace keeps her awake as she sleeps on her traditional tower of mattresses to prove her worthiness. Vaës's waggish illustrations are as playful and funny as the text. The queen's corgies cavort in the dining room, a Charles Laughton butler minces in with a turkey, a pigeon courts his lady love by puffing up his neck while the prince woos Princess Opal in a red sports car. A comical spoof delivered in high style. Ages 6-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2001 September
PreS-Gr 3-Opaline von Highbredde of Lower Crestalia is not your typical princess. She wears grease-stained overalls and drives a tow truck to pass the time until she comes of age and takes the throne. That's how Prince Ralph of Upper Crestalia, out for a drive after all the princesses he had hoped to marry failed his mother's exacting tests, meets her. It's love at first sight, and the two immediately return to his castle so that the princess can take the tests everyone else has failed. Annoyed that Opal is able to do 100 double Dutch jumps on one leg and answer a riddle, the queen insists on one more test: the familiar pea under the stack of mattresses. The boldly colorful illustrations reflect Va's's background as a set designer; he captures the dramatic and broadly comical possibilities in a princess attempting yo-yo tricks, her face screwed up in concentration, or in the anxious looks on Prince Ralph's face as he awaits his mother's verdicts. Though this may not be the most engaging version of the tale available, the humorous twists and illustrations will be appreciated by all.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.