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Follow Your Heart

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart ($16.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, ages 4-8) by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton with illustrations by Christine Davenier is yet another hit from this successful mother daughter team. The Very Fairy Princess is a popular series and this latest one’s just in time for Valentine’s Day.


Gerry, with plenty of sparkle inside and even more enthusiasm to share on the outside, is excited because one of her favorite holidays is just around the corner and she’s got a FABULOUS idea. Deciding to create a bunch of individualized, glittery and feathery Valentine’s Day cards (perfectly illustrated by Davenier) for her family and friends, Gerry sets to work. But, as fate has it, on the big day she accidentally grabs the wrong folder and takes her Daddy’s instead. Imagine the HORROR when it’s her turn to hand out the special cards. After comforting from her caring teacher Miss Pym, Gerry finds an original solution to her dilemma and everyone ends up EXTREMELY happy, especially Gerry when her Daddy shows up to save the day!  Eager for more info about the Julie Andrews Collection? Click here to find out more.

For this Valentine’s Day we’re also reading:

Apple Cake: A Recipe For Love written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis ($16.99, Harcourt, ages  4-8)

Hugs and Kisses by Rachel Hale ($6.99, LBKids, ages 1-4) 

Who Needs Love?  by Elise Primavera with illustrations by Laura Park ($16.99, Robin Corey Books, ages 5-8)

We Go Together:  A Curious Collection of Affectionate Verse by Calef Brown  ($9.99, Houghton Mifflin Books for Kids, ages 4-8) 

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Roses and Noses, Oh How They Smell

Dangerously Ever After ($16.99, Dial Books, Ages 5 and up) by Dashka Slater is not your every day fairy tale. Sure there’s a prince, princess, a castle and a forest. But other than that, you’ve never heard this plot before. Princess Amanita is not your quintessential prissy princess, rather she mostly likes things that are dangerous – a pet scorpion, broken glass and a bicycle without brakes, to name a few.

One day, Prince Florian from a neighboring castle stops by and brings her roses. The princess loves the long, painful thorns that poke through her skin so much that she puts the roses in a vase with the stems sticking up and the flowers facing down. She asks the prince to please give her some seeds so she can grow more prickly roses. He brings her some seeds, but instead of roses, she finds the seeds have sprouted a bunch of sniffling, sneezing noses. (This part of the book gave me a huge chuckle as I am likely the most allergic person on the planet; one who sneezes throughout the day, every day of every year.) Well Princess Amanita is so disappointed with the useless noses that she sets out on an adventure to return them to the prince. But what she discovers is that these noses may be able to serve a useful purpose.

This book is sure to entertain because:

  1. Despite the fact that the book is about a princess, the story is extremely creative, original and humorous.
  2. The main character, Princess Amanita, is independent and daring, unlike so many princesses in so many fairy tales.
  3. The princess looks at every day things in ways much different than most of us look at them, teaching the reader new creative ways of thinking.
  4. Though a very unique plot, the story is still enchanting the way a fairy tale should be.
  5. The illustrations by Valeria Docampo are excellent, vibrant and very detailed.

A while back I reviewed another story about a princess – Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying, that I also loved because it was unique and funny just like this book, yet in a different way. Any story that surprises and delights the reader is worth a look, and Dangerously Ever After is one of those stories.

Note: If your child is an early reader, this book is a bit sophisticated and longer than most picture books, so it is best that you read it together.

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Cinderella’s Stepmother Steps Into The Spotlight

If you’ve had enough with fairy tales, you’ll love introducing your children to Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying!: The Story of Cinderella as Told by the Wicked Stepmother ($5.95, Picture Window Books, ages 5 and up) written by Trisha Speed Shaskan. Simply put, this is a mockery of Cinderella’s perfect image. From the viewpoint of the jealous stepmother, Cinderella is treated well by every member of the family, but she is just too chatty and oh, so annoying. I like this book, not only for its humor, but also because it is an original take on a tried and true fairy tale. After reading and being told so many quintessential princess stories, this book makes young readers think in fresh, new ways.  The cartoon-like illustrations by Gerald Guerlais are colorful and inviting too. In the back of the book the author suggests that readers read the original Cinderella story and compare it to this one. Any book that is funny and encourages children to think outside the box (or should I say castle?) is a winner.

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