cover image The Twelve Dancing Princesses

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Jane Ray, Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm, Jacob W. Grimm. Dutton Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45595-0

Nobody knows how to party like these 12 princesses who first twinkled their toes in a Brothers Grimm tale. These young ladies manage to hide their wild nights out from everyone--especially their father, who would never allow such behavior. But each morning the king discovers a dozen pairs of freshly shredded dancing shoes and an exhausted brood of daughters. At wit's end, the king offers a princess's hand in marriage to any man who can expose the daughters' mysterious escapades. Ray's (Magical Tales from Many Lands; Noah's Ark) adaptation reads well as a timeless story of children's rebellion against strict parental rule, adopting a ""girls just wanna have fun"" attitude toward deceiving the king. In her distinctive style, Ray saturates each page with lush, intricate backgrounds and patterns, whisking readers away to an elegant dream world. Her lavish, richly hued scenes of trees dripping with diamonds and exquisite ball gowns shimmering in the moonlight are the grand stuff of fairy tale fantasy. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)