cover image Would You Rather Be a Princess or a Dragon?

Would You Rather Be a Princess or a Dragon?

Barney Saltzberg. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62672-358-0

Saltzberg (Inside This Book) uses the title question to upend stereotypes as he contrasts the proclivities of a young redheaded princess with those of a good-natured dragon. Photographic elements lend texture to Saltzberg’s loose cartoons—mottled green rubber evokes dragon scales, pink bubble wrap creates the girl’s bubble bath—as rhyming text offers tips (“If you want to be a princess/ practice walking straight and tall./ If you want to be a dragon, practice bouncing off the wall”) and observations (“A princess loves to smile in a dainty princess way./ A dragon is just wild, being dragony all day”). After recounting the ways in which princesses are dainty and dragons rowdy, Saltzberg shows the princess tossing away her crown (and shoes and socks) to prance on the dragon’s tail, “Because inside every princess is a little dragon child.” And inside every dragon? A princess—if she isn’t careful. (The final image reveals that this one doesn’t need to worry about being digested.) Saltzberg doesn’t push his message too hard, but the book may well lead to valuable conversations about clichés and individuality. Ages 4–7. [em]Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Sept.) [/em]