cover image There's a Princess in the Palace: Five Classic Tales

There's a Princess in the Palace: Five Classic Tales

Zoë B. Alley, illus. by R.W. Alley, Roaring Brook/Porter, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-471-4

Like their 2008 collection The Wolf at the Door, with which this volume shares its oversize format, the Alleys' panel-art versions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Frog Prince, and The Princess and the Pea are part retelling, part parody. Knit together with some creative genealogy, the stories downplay beauty and romance and concentrate on feisty dialogue. Two mice provide running commentary—"Don't you think she might need to brush after being asleep for so long?" one asks about Sleeping Beauty. Earlier, one asks, "Shouldn't the Prince love Cinderella no matter what she's wearing or who she is?" "Of course," replies the other, "but she doesn't know that yet!" R.W. Alley packs plenty of action into diminutive panels, and the figures' comic facial expressions provoke giggles without resorting to grotesquerie. "I recently read in Better Moats and Gardens that a true princess could never be comfy sleeping on top of even such a small lump as this!" says the queen, with a conspiratorial glance at the camera; readers can practically hear her voice. This will enter the rotation of bedtime favorites. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)