cover image Princess in Training

Princess in Training

Tammi Sauer, illus. by Joe Berger. Harcourt, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-15-206599-7

Viola Louise Hassenfeffer is no idle princess: “She spent her time karate-chopping, diving into the moat, and skateboarding up and down the drawbridge.” But she also wants to make her parents happy by being prim and proper, so when she’s invited to attend a boot camp where she’ll learn “to wave, walk, and waltz just like royalty should,” she leaps at the chance. With so many feisty princess stories in circulation, readers will quickly guess that redheaded Viola flunks Propriety 101, but gets an A+ in Saving the Day. Sauer’s (Me Want Pet!) storytelling tends to be literal, but Berger’s exuberant ink line and comic-book conventions (including the use of panels and “zip! zup! zoom!” sound effects) sell the otherwise expected story. As he has proven with the Bridget Fidget books, he’s got a gift for portraying expressive, inexhaustible heroines, whether they are following their bliss (one especially spectacular scene has Viola executing a righteous one-handed handstand on her skateboard —bracelets, tiara, and all) or vanquishing a—spoiler alert—dragon. Ages 4–8. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Caroline Walsh, David Higham Associates. (Oct.)