cover image Fresh Princess

Fresh Princess

Denene Millner, illus. by Gladys Jose. HarperCollins, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-288457-2

Inspired by Will Smith’s TV role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Millner and Jose introduce Fresh Princess Destiny in this quietly empowering story about a family moving house. The girl, called Fresh Princess by her sympathetic father, has everything a princess needs: sparkly shoes, loyal stuffed animal subjects, and a neighborhood kingdom where she can play double Dutch with her friends and family. When her family moves to Philadelphia, far away from everything she knows, she’s “not feeling fresh at all.” She’s reticent at first, but with her family’s help, Destiny soon discovers the joys her “new kingdom” has to offer: a room with a window seat (“It has potential,” she thinks), riding the El train with her father, viewing street art (“love letters tucked on the buildings’ rooftops and spines”), and a neighborhood filled with new friends who, it turns out, also play double Dutch. Jose’s colorful cartoons give an occasional nod to social issues (civil rights posters hang in a bedroom, positive graffiti messages appear on buildings), and a diverse cast of characters celebrate the spirit of bravely opening up to new places and new friendships—a fresh feeling, indeed. Ages 4–8. [em](Apr.) [/em]