THE PRINCESS’S BLANKETS by Carol Ann Duffy and paintings by Catherine Hyde (Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, 2009)

November 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

princess blanketsThe princess is always cold. She lies in her bed covered in blankets and the servants warm her room with roaring fires, all to no avail.  A dark stranger appears, promising the king and queen that with his magic he will make their daughter warm, but for this, they must agree to let him take her away to be his wife.  The princess herself is fearful of this stranger with cruel eyes. She resists; she is as cold as the ocean, as cold as the forest, as cold as the mountain, as cold as the earth.  Each blanket that the stranger flings on her takes away the fish from the ocean; the fruit, the wood, and the animals from the forest; the rain and the rivers from the mountain; the food, the flowers and the soil from the earth.  And the people suffer. Still, the princess resists the arrogant stranger.  One day a musician wonders into the gloomy land and upon hearing the story of the princess, approaches the castle and asks to see her.  Her beauty inspires him to play his flute and as they fall in love, his touch makes the stranger’s blankets fall away, restoring all the lost goodness back to the world and the people.  The stranger is never heard from again.

In the tradition of a fairy tale narrative, this story is told with powerful poetic language. The artwork, accentuated with stone-like shimmers of metallic foil, is equally as mysterious and compelling in its evocation of the deepest textures and emotions we harbor about the ocean, the forest, the mountain, and the earth. For a story that is so entrancing to listen to, it is unfortunate that the text is set in a small font size that crowds as many as twenty words on a single line. This may make the book hard to read aloud to a group of children.

Picture Book, ages 4-8.  Recommended- Amelia Carling (Pelham Public Library)

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THE KING OF QUIZZICAL ISLAND by Gordon Snell and illustrated by David McKee (Candlewick Press 1978, 2009) THE PATTERSON PUPPIES AND THE RAINY DAY written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli

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