cover image The Princess and the Frogs

The Princess and the Frogs

Veronica Bartles, illus. by Sara Palacios. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-236591-0

Princess Cassandra wants a pet, and she has very specific criteria: it must be a swimmer, a jumper, match her favorite green dress, and “at night, he will sit on my pillow and sing to me.” A frog fits the bill perfectly, until Cassandra gives Froggy a goodnight kiss and he turns into a young prince who wants to get married right away. In fact, every single frog in the kingdom turns out to be a marriage-eager prince in disguise. Happily ever after reigns when the Princess comes across a prince who wants to remain an amphibian. First-time picture book author Bartles has a fun idea in mind, and Palacios’s (the Marisol McDonald series) mixed-media pictures bring a breezy spirit to this fairy tale spoof. But the humor never gels, and the heroine’s imperiousness comes off as spoiled and snooty, as opposed to empowered: “Princes aren’t pets!” is her refrain, which may leave readers wondering why a prince can’t be the best friend she so badly wants. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Jessica Sinsheimer, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Kendra Marcus, Bookstop Literary. (Nov.) [/em]