cover image Princess Pigsty

Princess Pigsty

Cornelia Funke, , illus. by Kerstin Meyer, trans. from the German by Chantal Wright. . Scholastic/Chicken House, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-88554-6

As they did in The Princess Knight , Funke and Meyer once again skewer the princess stereotype. While Isabella leads a pampered life that others can only dream of—waited on hand and foot, with someone to blow her nose for her and curl her hair—it's the royal gal's worst nightmare. "I am tired of being a princess! It's boring, boring, boring !" she bemoans one day. Servants drawn with eyes and mouths clamped tightly shut further underscore a life of repetition and conformity. Funke portrays her heroine with a fiercely independent streak, in direct contrast to Isabella's two older sisters, who are horrified when she tosses her crown into the goldfish pond. Even the king's entrance does not dissuade Isabella from her wish to try out ordinary things. Much to readers' amusement, the monarch's various punishments in the kitchen or pigsty only strengthen her desire (after her banishment to the kitchen for three days, Isabella asks her exasperated father, "Did you know that cream is made from milk?"). The king, however, appreciates his daughter's spunk: a pleasing parting image depicts father and daughter leaving the pigsty, hand in hand, bound for the castle with a new mutual respect. This charming feminist fairytale illustrates that happily-ever-after can mean different things to different people. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)