Wednesday, June 02, 2010
The Secret Lives of Princesses, by Philippe Lechermeier & illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer
Okay. So I have to begin with an admission. I am not that into princesses. I was always more of a curled up in the corner with a mystery hanging out in the treehouse kind of gal. But here's the thing. You don't have to be into princesses to adore this absolutely stunning book by Lechermeier and Dautremer.
The Secret Lives of Princesses fits into that format of book that is set up as non-fiction, but is all fiction all the time. Topics are given their own pages, and are generally set up with one page of text paired with one exquisite illustration. Topics explored are familiar fairytale finds such as "The Cradle", "A Confidante", "The Garden", and "Royal Cuisine". Between the pages of topics are minibiographies of the princesses themselves. Will you find Cinderella here? Oh, no. But you will find such intriguing young women as Princess Anne Phibian, Princess Quartermoon, and this librarian's favourite, "Princess Paige".
Readers will delight in the fast facts that are provided in sidebars throughout the text. Did you know that the tears of a pricess are prized and "are used to compose the sweetest songs, the most beautiful poetry, and the most adoring love letters." (p.16) Did you also know that "the ruby heals dizziness, and the diamond helps avoid the brushing of teeth"? (p.30)
So what makes this a perfect picture book for tweens? First off, the gorgeous illustrations beg to be poured over. There is also an edge to the writing that may go unappreciated on the younger set. (The Practical Guide in the back of the book is a perfect example of this). These aren't your cookie cutter princesses, and readers are bound to find themselves in at least one of these fair ladies.