cover image The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea

Hans Christian Andersen. Picture Book Studio Ltd, $13.95 (25pp) ISBN 978-0-88708-052-4

Long before there were lie detectors, there was the great pea test: the real princess's genteel character is not numbed by 20 mattresses and 20 eiderdown quilts. She isn't lying when she says she felt ""something so hard that I'm black and blue all over.'' The pea becomes a museum piece, and at the end of this story the princess happily marries her prince, and their offspring go picking in a pea patch. Tharlet's narrative scenes are portrayed from an almost aerial perspective. Readers look down at castles, their majestic interiors and the people that inhabit them from a vantage point that reveals the artist's acute awareness of size and dimension as language for humor. All royal folk look alike, with their stiff upper lips, twisted noses and looks of perpetual surprise. Ages 4-8. (September)