Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Not Just Another Princess Story

Publish January 29, 2015

Not Just Another Princess Story, written by Sheri Radford and illustrated by Qin Leng, explores the idea of living life on your own terms. In a tale that thwarts many princess story tropes, math-loving princess Candi must find a prince to marry. Since a vengeful wizard turned Candi’s mother into a pickle and made her father just plain silly, she can’t rely on them for advice. Instead, she scours a book of fairy tales. Taking hints from The Frog Prince, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, among others, Candi ultimately balks at tradition and charts her own course. Much of the story is a play on fairy tales. The seemingly traditional opening, “Once upon a time,” quickly becomes flippant: “…[Candi] was super-duper-extra intelligent. Well, she was intelligent at least. Look, let’s just say she wasn’t totally stupid. Okay?” Although these peter out as the story progresses, kids will enjoy the italicized asides that add to the tale, or correct the extravagant narrator. They’ll also love the unexpected twists, like when Candi kisses a frog and it turns into a bird. Leng’s illustrations also have a charming old European comic album feel and she uses the end pages to draw kids into the story, showing Candi in a number of soon-to-be-memorable situations. Reminiscent of illustrated fairy tales, Not Just Another Princess Story consists primarily of full-page text opposite full-page illustrations. It would work well as a multi-session read-aloud for younger kids and as an early chapter book for older ones.

Not Just Another Princess Story

Sheri Radford
Illustration EN: Qin Leng
Simply Read Books
ISBN 13: 978-1-927018-57-6

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

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