cover image Part-time Princess

Part-time Princess

Deborah Underwood, illus. by Cambria Evans. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-2485-6

After finishing all the obligations of an ordinary day and getting a kiss goodnight from Mom, a contemporary girl in pigtails is free to let her imagination run wild and define princessdom on her own terms. She can be a firefighter who combats a palace blaze (“No one dreams of telling her it’s too dangerous”) and saves the kingdom “as usual.” She can use clever tactics to calm a raging dragon (tea and sympathy) or grumpy trolls (boogying down). And yes, there’s a handsome prince with whom she may eventually form an alliance, “But right now I’m too busy.” Underwood (The Quiet Book) and Evans (Bone Soup) present a heroine who can have it all—from a “gown that shimmers like starlight” to strenuous physical adventure—without ever worrying about embodying a contradiction. However, this upbeat, empowering tale is more an encyclopedia of opportunities than a compelling narrative. While Evans’s cartooning is accomplished, and the illustrator wields pink in a way that never feels suffocating, the heroine comes across more as a mouthpiece than as a recognizable human being. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (Mar.)