cover image The Twelve Princesses

The Twelve Princesses

Gordon Fitchett. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2474-7

An all-duck cast gives a campy spin to a Brothers Grimm classic in Fitchett's first children's book. While the text is relatively faithful to the original, the art replaces romance with an abundance of quirkily comic details. The nocturnal dancing siblings, for example, sport an amusing spectrum of hair styles, from a golden spiked 'do to a pink beehive, and their array of multicolored platform shoes and spike heels would turn Imelda Marcos green with envy. Bedecked in jewels and a range of outrageous fashions--with lipstick meticulously applied to the edges of their beaks--the vain duckling sisters sneak out to meet dashing, equally garishly clad duck princes who whisk them off in an eclectic fleet of rowboats to a stylized, mid-lake castle. Fitchett achieves a deadpan style--working in colored pencil, he creates pebble-textured compositions with a deceptively formal mood. This fun, funky rendition may not edge out Jane Ray's or Kinuko Y. Craft's more traditional versions of the same story, but it marks Fitchett as a newcomer to watch. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)