Princess in Training
pictures by Joe Berger
Harcourt Children’s Books, 2012
FORMAT: Picture Book
Viola Louise Hassenfeffer was a princess. But unlike most princesses she had a few hobbies that made her a bit different. She liked to karate chop, dive into the moat, and skateboard. The King, Queen, and rest of the kingdom was worried that she did not act like a princess should. So when an invitation to go to Camp Princess to learn how to be a regular princess came, she jumped at the chance to go.
Alas, at Camp Princess she just didn’t seem to fit in. She couldn’t be herself and be a “normal” princess at the same time. When the Royal Bash is crashed by a dragon, it is Princess Viola Louise Hassenfeffer who comes to the rescue by being herself. And then all the other princesses want to learn how to be just like her. And Viola figured out that she can be the “darling of the kingdom” by being herself.
I like this book. A lot. I especially like how even though pink is a major color, and princesses are a major theme, it shows that you don’t have to be all pink, all princess, and all perfect to be the best princesses ever. I like how Viola doesn’t have to have her hair up. She can defend herself and her friends without waiting for a knight. And she can do it all while wearing bracelets and a tiara. I also like how the illustrations give a nod or two to comic book-style panels when princess Viola is especially being herself. After all, nothing says happy action like a few comic-panels. And the nod to other princesses is quite humorous for the adults. (I noticed some Princess Leia buns and a Snow White inspired gown just to name a few.) This is one book that allows the princess lovers to realize that there is often more to being a princess than just the sparkles and the waving. I love it!
What kids will learn after reading this book:
Being yourself is often the most important things.
Illustrations can often show just how exciting action is (those comic panels in moving the action along).
You don’t have to be afraid just because of a giant flame-breathing dragon. You can tackle anything!
What to do after reading this book:
Play dress up.
Talk about what it means to be a princess.
Write a royal letter and send it to princess friends.
Do some karate, diving (or swimming), or skateboarding.
Make your own storyline using action panels with illustrations.
Have a dance party.