cover image Princess Bess Gets Dressed

Princess Bess Gets Dressed

Margery Cuyler, , illus. by Heather Maione. . Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-3833-0

From the glitter on the jacket and Barbie-pink endpapers to the catchy rhymed descriptions of Princess Bess's “loads of” beautiful clothes, Cuyler's (100th Day Worries ) sprightly story brims over with little-girl appeal. Princess Bess, depicted in debut artist Maione's zesty ink-and-watercolor art with carrot-colored ringlets and apple-red cheeks, leads a busy life (together with her omnipresent puppy, whose doings add an extra note of humor). Every activity of Bess's day, from ballet lessons to art class to jousting and chess, demands a different outfit. Even mealtimes require a costume change: “for luncheon with the prince/ she wore pink pantaloons of chintz,” writes Cuyler; Maione shows her lounging barefoot in a treetop with an equally casually clad boy prince as a footman on a ladder holds a tray. But only when she has “closed her curtains, locked her door, dropped her dress upon the floor” is Bess finally free to dress as she likes—in her underclothes. The well-crafted rhymes roll easily off the tongue; Maione's droll pictures, balancing fashion-loving detail with Bess's brio, are a skillful accompaniment. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)