Princess Diana: A True Fairy Tale

Kay Stammers, Author
Kay Stammers, Author HarperCollins Children's Books $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-107119-5
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Beginning with the requisite ""once upon a time,"" this picture book biography, with a photograph on every page, chaperones young readers through Diana's life, from girlhood to the celebrated wedding and beyond. Illuminated initials help establish a storybook look, and small photographs against a broad white background add a nostalgic distance. Stammers's narration is well pitched, both creating an empathetic sense of young Diana--the poor little rich girl whose parents divorced when she was six but who put on a brave front for her three-year-old brother's sake--and giving Diana's life the faraway, archetypal sense of a fairy tale, complete with stepmother and princely suitor. As older readers know, some elements of this real-life story deviate from the genre, and Stammers maintains a diplomatic silence about Diana's bulimia and suicide attempts and about Diana's and Charles's extramarital affairs. The royal divorce is framed in terms of Diana's concerns about its effects on her sons (""She made sure they knew that she and Prince Charles still loved them very much, even though they were no longer married""). The appearance of Dodi Fayed, the tragic car crash in Paris and Elton John's role at Diana's funeral inevitably jolt the reader from the comfortable remove of once-upon-a-time, but Stammers softens the blow considerably. If prettified, this tribute is fittingly tailored to younger royal watchers. All ages. (June)
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