Reviews for Twelve Dancing Princesses

Booklist Reviews 2009 March #2
Lush and glamorous with big full-page paintings in shades of purple and green, this picture book retells the Grimms’ fairy tale of the poor soldier who discovers the secret of the 12 princesses who wear out their shoes every night. The king offers a reward: whoever can solve the mystery of the shoes can marry a princess. With help from a wise old woman, the soldier makes himself invisible, avoids the princesses’ tricks, and follows them through a dark night to a secret castle, where they dance the night away. In contrast to the spare storytelling, the art is lavish in scenes of the rebellious maidens, who are far from submissive damsels, having fun in their opulent ball gowns. Readers will appreciate Cech’s note about the story’s connections to timeless themes, including the mythical journey to the Underworld. And the fun continues to the end: the eldest sister is pleased to marry the soldier, who proves to be “a very good dancer.” Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
A poor soldier wins the hand of a princess by breaking a curse that forces her and her sisters to dance. The polished text can be smoothly read aloud. The paintings, using hues of green, gold, and purple, done in a rich mix of acrylics, inks, watercolors, and pencil, have a magical, ethereal quality. An appended note explores the story's folkloric themes. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 July

K-Gr 4-In this retelling of the Grimm Brothers' tale called "The Dancing Shoes," several significant details have been changed. In Cech's story, the king owns up, in the end, to the fact that he has not allowed dancing in his kingdom since his dear queen died, and his eldest daughter expounds, "Our souls just wouldn't be still until they had their fill of dancing." In the original tale, "The princesses had dancing shoes, which they wore when the king had grand entertainments…," and their overprotective father locks, bolts, and bars the door to their sleeping hall each evening. The young ladies escape to the subterranean castle via a flight of stairs hidden under the oldest girl's bed. In Cech's tale, there is nothing secret about the staircase. In place of the dire ending of the original tale, each of Cech's princesses soon marries the prince who escorted her to the enchanted castle each night, and all live happily ever after. An author's note loosely relates pieces of the story to the hero tales of Gilgamesh, Orpheus, and Odysseus, and to the Indian tale called "Dorani" and the English "Kate Crackernuts." Corvino has used acrylic and watercolor paints and inks, with pencil detail-particularly on faces-to create lovely illustrations in the classic fairy-tale style. This adaptation is a worthy purchase for most collections, and the upbeat retelling makes the tale accessible to children as young as five or six years.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

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