cover image The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea

Hans Christian Andersen, Sucie Stevenson. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-385-41375-6

Even in the tropics, it appears, love conquers all: Stevenson cleverly sets her jaunty retelling on a balmy South Sea isle. From that idyllic spot a peripatetic prince journeys quite literally to the ends of the earth in his quest for a true princess--readers see him sitting astride a camel under the blazing desert sun, beckoning to monkeys in the jungle and contemplating an arctic yak. That he and all the prospective princesses (as well as the genuine article that eventually, of course, turns up) are rabbits further heightens the silliness and the fun. Floppy-earred, pudgy and arrayed in exotic costumes befitting their locales, this troupe is beguiling indeed. Stevenson's ( Christmas Eve ; Jessica the Blue Streak ) unaffected prose, expressively cartoony style and fresh pastels make this an accessible and entertaining version of Andersen's classic. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)