cover image Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut

Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut

Margaret Atwood. Workman Publishing, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7611-0166-6

Canadian literary icon Atwood takes a break from serious fiction and cuts loose with this deliciously silly romp. Preoccupied with her own prettiness, Prunella, a positive pill of a princess, passes her time peering into a pocket mirror to see her perfect dimples; planning nuptials with a prince who has piles of pin money; and producing pandemonium for her pained parents, pets and the parlormaids paid to pick up after her. She gets her comeuppance when she provokes a ``wrinkly-wristed'' wise woman, who places on the princess's proboscis a purple peanut that won't go away until she performs three good deeds. All's well that ends well, however, and prudence wins out over pride. The fun is infectious, and greatly amplified by Kovalski's (Pizza for Breakfast) droll illustrations. It's also a particularly pleasing read-aloud, as Atwood's outrageous alliteration (""for supper she fed Prunella some parsley and paprika soup, a pile of potted pigeon and pickerel pancakes, and some pepper and porridge preserve, on a pretty plate patterned with pendulous poppies"") proves irresistible. Perfectly peachy. Ages 5-8. (Dec.)