Dangerously Ever After

Dashka Slater, Author, Valeria Docampo, Illustrator
Dashka Slater, illus. by Valeria Docampo. Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3374-9
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Princess Amanita likes poisonous and dangerous things, and she grows them in her garden: her heckle-berries insult passersby and the stink lilies smell “like a mixture of dog food, cabbage, and Limburger cheese.” Cheerful Prince Florian shows up with roses, whose thorns attract Amanita, and she pens a note requesting rose seeds from his gardener. But her handwriting is bad; the seeds grow not roses, but—noses. The rest of the tale is equally unpredictable, but Amanita winds up humbled and more ready to be friends with Florian. Slater (The Sea Serpent and Me) stuffs every sentence with inventive detail, like the grenapes that explode when Florian slices some off the vine. Docampo’s (The House at the End of Ladybug Lane) illustrations have a stylish, edgy feel; Amanita’s tight bodice, made-up eyes, and carefully styled hair give her the air of a pop star, though by the end of the story she’s let her hair down. A sophisticated romp that serves as a reminder that girls can be mean and unpleasant and boys at their mercy. Ages 5–8. Agent: Felicia Eth Literary Representation. Illustrator’s Agent: MB Artists. (Sept.)
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