cover image Rani’s Remarkable Day

Rani’s Remarkable Day

Saadia Faruqi, illus. by Anoosha Syed. Clarion, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-358-53677-2

Faruqi encourages social risk-taking in this flatly empowering picture book via a royal protagonist who ventures beyond the isolation of palace life and discovers camaraderie. For Princess Rani, who reads as South Asian, “being the only princess in/ the kingdom was boring,/ tedious,/ dull.” Attempts to play with her mother (busy planning a new highway), father (busy considering food for a party), and the prime minister (just busy) fall flat, so the determined child takes things into her own hands. Though the prime minister is horrified that Rani might interact with “everyday people,” she heads to the beach with Prince Baby, where a rival sandcastle-builder eventually morphs into a playmate: in order to overcome loneliness, she endeavors to “take a risk,/ work together,// make a friend.” Adjective trios (“valiant,// brave,/ courageous!”) enliven uncomplicated plotting. Heavy on pink, Syed’s animation-style digital illustrations add a dose of comedy with their depiction of Rani’s bodyguards’ seaside antics. Ages 4–8. (May)