cover image Princess Pru and the Ogre on the Hill

Princess Pru and the Ogre on the Hill

Maureen Fergus, illus. by Danesh Mohiuddin. Owlkids, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77147-500-6

It’s tough to be the new neighbor in the kingdom, especially if one is a purple-eyebrowed gray ogre who’s perceived as “hulky and hairy,/ fearsome and scary.” Even so, Princess Pru—who lives a “practically perfect” life with her two dads, ostrich, and three royal tarantulas—would rather he not crash her royal rock band rehearsals or her games of tickle tag. When Princess Pru, portrayed with tan skin, suggests that a welcome party might make the lonely ogre feel better, however, the kings (one depicted with light brown skin and a turban, one shown with lighter skin and a crown) veto the idea. Soon, the ogre’s reportedly terrifying behavior—buying snacks, craft supplies, and balloons in the village—signals he’s got plans of his own. Though readers will see the denouement coming a mile away, the book’s message of inclusion proves the princess’s compassionate mettle. Fergus’s text balances gross-out humor and contemporary mores, while Mohiuddin’s comics-style artwork follows suit in portraying the racially diverse kingdom’s arc toward friendliness. Ages 4–7. (Apr.)