Fall 2015 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens selection!
National Reading Campaign:
Not Just Another Princess Story, written by Sheri Radford and illustrated by Qin Leng, explores the idea of living life on your own terms. In a tale that thwarts many princess story tropes, math-loving princess Candi must find a prince to marry. Since a vengeful wizard turned Candi’s mother into a pickle and made her father just plain silly, she can’t rely on them for advice. Instead, she scours a book of fairy tales. Taking hints from The Frog Prince, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, among others, Candi ultimately balks at tradition and charts her own course.
Much of the story is a play on fairy tales. The seemingly traditional opening, “Once upon a time,” quickly becomes flippant: “…[Candi] was super-duper-extra intelligent. Well, she was intelligent at least. Look, let’s just say she wasn’t totally stupid. Okay?” Although these peter out as the story progresses, kids will enjoy the italicized asides that add to the tale, or correct the extravagant narrator. They’ll also love the unexpected twists, like when Candi kisses a frog and it turns into a bird. Leng’s illustrations also have a charming old European comic album feel and she uses the end pages to draw kids into the story, showing Candi in a number of soon-to-be-memorable situations.
Reminiscent of illustrated fairy tales, Not Just Another Princess Story consists primarily of full-page text opposite full-page illustrations. It would work well as a multi-session read-aloud for younger kids and as an early chapter book for older ones.
Just silly enough for a five-year-old to enjoy and perfect for an eight-year-old to read herself, Not Just Another Princess Story by Vancouver author Sheri Radford and Toronto Illustrator Qin Leng is a fairytale of for princess Kate’s generation.
Busting open the clichés of frog-kissing, dragon slaying and fairy godmother invoking fairytales of yore, this princess story breaks new, less trodden ground. In the book, it’s our heroine Princess Candi’s mathematics prowess that outwits the wizard and sends her to university on a math scholarship where she finds her prince charming and bonds over calculus.
Now that’s happily ever after.
~ Sarah Bancroft