The Princess and the Peas

Caryl Hart, Author, Sarah Warburton, Illustrator
Caryl Hart, illus. by Sarah Warburton. Candlewick/Nosy Crow, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6532-6
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Warburton’s indefatigably sprightly and lovingly detailed illustrations help focus this grass-is-greener story. The premise is that a girl’s distaste for eating peas (as opposed to sleeping on them, as in the classic fairy tale) reveals her latent princess-ness, requiring her to leave her idyllic home and doting father to go live in a palace. Warburton (the Rumblewick’s Diary series) draws Lily-Rose May’s new regal abode as a rose-tinted fantasy, complete with carpeted staircase, suitably snooty servants, and separate rooms for dress-up and shoes. But peas start looking pretty good after the grind of royal life kicks in, with meals of cold cabbage stew and days devoted to “three hours of waving to please all your fans,/ and lessons in smiling, and shaking of hands.” British author Hart’s literal, maundering rhyming (“Lily-Rose May gave her daddy a cuddle./ ‘Oh, what shall I do? I’m in such a big muddle!/ I would so love to live at the palace—it’s true./ But I want to stay here, in the forest with you”) makes the story hard to track and may test readers’ patience. Ages 3–6. (Feb.)
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