cover image The Princess Gown

The Princess Gown

Linda Leopold Strauss, , illus. by Malene Reynolds Laugesen. . Houghton Mifflin, $16 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-618-86259-7

Set in an anonymous kingdom of long ago, Strauss's (A Fairy Called Hilary ) tale satisfyingly combines favorite story elements. When Hanna's tailor father enters a competition to sew the princess's wedding dress, the stakes are high: if he wins, he becomes embroiderer to the princess; if he loses, the family goes to the poorhouse. Family tradition dictates that each member put at least one stitch into every garment crafted in their workroom, and after Hanna's turn, she notices a tiny stain. Her daring, creative solution for fixing it—so clever, but so risky—will have readers of all ages holding their breaths. Laugesen's (The Blessing Box ) animation-style illustrations—aerial and long-distance views mingled with closeups of wide-eyed faces—are rendered in oil crayon and linseed oil on colored paper, creating a nearly tangible, saturated texture. Presented in a consistent layout—a framed full-page image bleeding onto half of the facing page, alternating from left to right—the pictures keep step with the well-paced tale. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)