cover image Princess Lila Builds a Tower

Princess Lila Builds a Tower

Anne Paradis, illus. by Karina Dupuis. CrackBoom (Legato, dist.), $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-2-9815807-5-7

A pampered princess makes baby steps toward independence in this underwhelming fairy tale from author/publisher Paradis, which features airy, whimsical artwork from newcomer Dupuis. Princess Lila, whose blonde locks would give Rapunzel’s a run for their money, lives in a castle where she has all the books, toys, dresses, and servants she could ask for. Lila dreams of exploring beyond the castle’s walls, but her parents forbid her from entering the forest, which they claim is “much too dangerous for a princess.” Hitting on a solution, Lila oversees the construction of a giant tower that lets her spy distant lands through a telescope—and she discovers a faraway prince with his own telescope. Readers may appreciate that the princess finds a way to achieve some autonomy within the restrictions placed on her, but the tower doesn’t really bring her any closer to “meet[ing] people from other places and play[ing] with children her own age.” Rather than a triumph, Lila’s tower-based surveillance makes her existence seem even more isolated, and other rational solutions (such as an escorted trip to the forest) are ignored. Ages 3–up. (May)