cover image Peas Let Her Be a Princess

Peas Let Her Be a Princess

Diane E. Keyes, illus. by Hannah Mericle. Puddle (, $19.95 (34p) ISBN 978-0-9962098-0-9

In a witty twist on “The Princess and the Pea,” first-time author Keyes introduces a foppish prince who plans to use “Ye Olde Princess Test” to determine whether the object of his affection is princess material. The test, naturally, involves placing a pea beneath her mattress: “if she wakes from lumpy bedding,/ it’s time to plan a royal wedding!” After a mouse steals the pea, and the prince’s knight companion pulls his sword, the rodent nervously suggests that the prince needs to use larger objects. Working in shades of olive and amber, newcomer Mericle makes the most of the physical comedy that follows as the prince places a hunk of cheese, a melon, a multi-tiered cake, and several animals under the mattress. The aggrieved princess finally wakes up, scoffs at the prince’s proposal, and leaves in search of comfier sleeping arrangements. Keyes’s rhymes carry the story swiftly forward while upending sexist fairy tale conventions—readers will finish the book knowing that lurking around people’s beds isn’t a great idea and suspecting that this prince won’t be tying the knot anytime soon. Ages 3–8. (BookLife)