cover image Princessland


Emily Jenkins, illus. by Yoko Tanaka. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-36115-0

Jenkins’s (Tiger and Badger) contemporary fable stars a girl named Romy who is so bored that she doesn’t know what to do with herself. The family feline, the Lady Cat, wanders away from the house, and the cat asks the accompanying Romy to tell her all about Princessland, where she’d prefer to be. “In Princessland,” Romy muses, “everyone lives in a castle with tall, tall towers.... They can look out their windows and see for miles.” Readers, meanwhile, see that the Lady Cat has taken Romy up into a tree, where she, too, can see for miles. Shades of shell pink and moss green add elegance to Tanaka’s (Blanket & Bear, a Remarkable Pair) muted spreads; the town where Romy lives rivals Princessland for misty allure, as the girl describes elegant nightly balls and princesses who fight dragons while riding horses and lions. The messages are familiar—there’s plenty of wonder in the real world, and imagination and storytelling offer surefire tickets into other ones—sentiments that are even easier to accept when they come from a talking cat. Ages 3–6. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)