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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Princess Says Goodnight, written by Naomi Howland and illustrated by David Small. Harper, 2010. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"Does she look out from her tower
just to count the sheep?

Will she make a wish upon a star
before she goes to sleep?"

The family enjoys time together, reading and 'laptopping' as Princess yawns in preparation for bedtime. Even the dog and cat seem to know what's coming. Mom and Dad yawn as well as they follow their sweet, pink princess down the hallway. As each passes the mirror their persona changes. Princess dons petal-skirted finery while Mom and Dad are garbed in palace duds. Soon, all family members join the procession, as Princess treks daintily toward her tower bedroom.

She flounces to her bedtime snack, glances toward the evening stars and removes her glass slippers as Papa prepares the fire to warm her. Sister helps with the bath, providing a towel for each of her ten toes while Mama hangs her latest gown in a closet filled with princess-worthy apparel...every shade of pink imaginable. They check the mattress for peas, fluff the pillows and give aid with her toilette. Froggy Prince gets a kiss, a lullaby is sung and a bedtime story read...who wouldn't want her life?

As we peek in her bedroom window at the story's end, we see Mom and Dad kissing their princess goodnight. In the final spread, she wraps her arms around her frog and cat before saying Goodnight herself!

Everyone can live happily until tomorrow's repeat ritual.

David Small's wonderful watercolors provide the perfect accompaniment to this lively, rhyming tale. His use of white space to give prominence to the characters focuses our attention on the action at all times. His endearing characters (each one of them) adds the drama needed to carry the story of a young girl, much loved and indulged.

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