Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas, by Tony Wilson, 30 pages.
It’s doubtful that Prince William subjected Kate Middleton to a “princess test” of a pea hidden under a stack of mattresses, but, as most of us know, in the Land of Fairy Tales, at least one young woman was tested in this way.
Prince Henrik, who wanted to get married, knew all about this test because his older brother, Prince Hans, had used it to determine the suitability and sensitivity of his new princess. And there was no doubt about it - Princess Eva was certainly very sensitive, for at any time of the day, she could be heard fussing and complaining about something or other in the palace!
Henrik decided that he didn’t want a sensitive princess. He wanted someone who enjoyed hockey and camping instead of fussing … someone who was fun and friendly, with a warm smile.
He decided to try something different. Whenever a girl came to stay at the palace, Prince Henrik made up the bed with a single mattress on a package of frozen peas.
The results were interesting, to say the least. Complaining bitterly, each girl left no doubt that she had noticed - and had not appreciated - the frozen peas.
One day, Prince Henrik’s old friend Pippa came to stay. They had great fun playing road hockey, riding horses and even spying on Princess Eva. For the first time, Henrik noticed Pippa’s warm smile.
That night, Pippa slept on a thin mattress with a package of frozen peas underneath. In the morning she awoke, refreshed, without a single complaint (the frozen package having soothed her shin, slightly bruised while playing hockey).
Readers can likely guess what happens next in Tony Wilson’s refreshing adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea, enhanced with the equally refreshing illustrations of Sue deGennaro.

** Recommended for ages 5 to 8 years.

The Three Billy Goats’ Stuff! by Bob Hartman, 32 pages.
On Goat’s first day at his new school, one of the first students he met was Troll, the school bully.
Leaping out from under the climbing frame on the playground as Goat trotted by, Troll roared, “I’m big and I’m tough / I don’t want to get rough / So reach in your pocket / And give me your stuff!”
Goat was terrified – and no wonder, for Troll was much bigger. He shivered and he shook, but he refused to give Troll the contents of his little briefcase.
Troll was amazed! No student had ever been brave enough to refuse him before.
As Goat escaped to the other side of the playground, his older brother, also new to the school, skipped by the climbing frame. Troll roared, “I’m big and I’m tough / I don’t want to get rough / So reach in your pocket / And give me your stuff!”
Second Goat, clutching his bigger briefcase, was as terrified as his younger brother - but he also refused to give up his “stuff”. Telling Troll that his older brother would soon arrive with the biggest briefcase of all, he ran away.
Troll waited. Sure enough, Third Goat soon approached the playground, carrying a large briefcase. Troll noticed that he was taller than his brothers ... much taller, in fact, and much older. Undeterred, he roared out his threat again.
Troll receives his well-deserved come-uppance in this amusing retelling of the traditional Three Billy Goats Gruff tale. (A CD which reads the story accompanies the book.)  This is a story which can open a discussion about the issue of bullying, as many children will know someone like Troll in their own school.
Bob Hartman is also the author of The Wolf Who Cried Boy.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on March 14, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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