cover image Princess+pirate King

Princess+pirate King

Debi Gliori. Larousse Kingfisher Chambers, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7534-5023-9

The Princess Podkin finds palace life a bore until an ostensibly dashing Pirate-King turns up at her doorstep, and informs her, ""I want to make a MESS, I want NOISE, and I want to CRASH and SHATTER!"" At first Podkin revels in the presence of someone she believes to be her soulmate, but the Pirate-King's thirst for action soon reveals a much darker side; then it is up to the Princess to mastermind an escape for herself and her royal parents. There's no denying the derivative feel of the story--except for the climax, in which Podkin and parents mercilessly assault their unwanted guest, it's tempting to sum it up as The Cat in the Hat with higher stakes. But the prose has a certain energy and the illustrations an unmistakable brio. Panels border central pictures, sometimes continuing the scene, sometimes spotlighting details featured within the scene (e.g., a topiary garden), sometimes adding details that amplify the plot (a succession of clocks showing the passage of time). And feminist-minded parents may appreciate the plucky heroine. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)