cover image Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff

Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff

Robert Paul Weston, illus. by Víctor Rivas Villa. Razorbill, $15.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-59514-567-3

Weston returns to the novel-in-verse format, goofy humor, inventive typography, and Seussian rhymes of his debut, Zorgamazoo, in this sartorial fairy tale. In Spiff, fashion matters above all else (“Every Spiff in the land would compete with their friends,/ to keep right in step with the latest of trends”), except to Princess Frannie, who prefers pajamas and books to sequins and gowns. Meanwhile in the neighboring kingdom of Spud, where clothing tends to be mismatched and garish, a commoner named Puggly is chosen to be prince and invited to the Centenary Ball in Spiff. Due to their “creative” wardrobe choices, Puggly and Frannie are insulted at the ball and flee in despair; when they meet up in the woods, they concoct a plan of revenge on the image-obsessed denizens of Spiff and its neighboring kingdoms. Weston’s climax is as tidy as his verse, with lessons learned about what truly matters (hint: it’s not a person’s outfit). Villa’s energetic illustrations further enliven this exuberant story that ought to enchant readers, whether they are fashion plates or reprobates. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Feb.)