cover image PRINCESS PICKY


Marjorie Priceman, . . Millbrook/Roaring Brook, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7613-1525-4

Priceman's (Emeline at the Circus) exuberant art crowns a story of a princess who learns to eat her vegetables. The opening spread sets up the premise: the otherwise perfect Princess Nicki scowls as a plump lady-in-waiting wearing wimple and cornet offers her a single pea on a plate; other royals hover anxiously. At the king's order, the staff tries bribes. The coachman, for example, says that if Nicki will try a bite of broccoli, she may ride in a gilded coach "complete with white wall tires... and a global positioning pigeon." With their characteristic verve and quirky fun, Priceman's high-intensity, lushly colored illustrations make hay with the palace fantasy, from the acrobatic jesters to the storybook-style servants to the cats who mirror Nicki's expressions. At last, the castle wizard asks Nicki what she wants. When she tells him her answer—to be smart and tall and long-haired, to have a dog and to fly—he sends her off with magic pips to plant at midnight. "You tricked me!" she complains when they yield "vile vegetables." "To the contrary," says the wizard. He explains that the vegetables will help her grow smart, tall and long-haired. "You'll have to ask your mother about the dog... and I'm still working on the flying," he finishes modestly. The final spread shows Nicki flying her kingdom's first airplane, with her dog, Turnip, by her side. Young readers might not like their vegetables any better, but they'll certainly clamor for more of Princess Picky. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)