cover image Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water

Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water

Verna Aardema. Dial Books, $10.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0412-1

Artist and author, displaying the considerable wit and style for which each is known, turn an age-old idea on its side: the events surrounding a contest for the hand of a princess. King Gorilla is intent on selecting a strong, brave husband for his daughter. Whoever can quaff a barrel of vinegar, he declares, shall be the one. Elephant saunters up confidently and takes a generous trunkful of the bitter stuff. In the end, the princess marries the handsome gorilla she's had her eye on all alongbut not until she's had the fun of seeing a host of animals apply themselves to the task, with increasingly comical results. Aardema has created a high-spirited, infectiously funny story, and the language of the tale is jaunty, playful and sureperfect for reading aloud. Chess's illustrations are an inspired choice. Her animals scheme, boast, swagger, spit and, in the case of the princess, chortle with gleeeach expression hilariously rendered in her lush pen-and-watercolor scenes. Ages 4-8. (March)