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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Very Fairy Princess, written by Julie Andrews and Emma W Hamilton and illustrated by Cnristine Davenier. Little Brown, Hachette, 2010. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"I know that I'm a fairy princess because I FEEL it inside - a sparkly feeling of just KNOWING in my heart. Also, I do EVERYTHING that fairy princesses do."

There are many people who absolutely do NOT believe in fairies. Does that matter to Geraldine? It does not! She knows that she is one and she spends every day all day proving it - to herself and to any other interested party. She is a very fairy princess. She does all that a real princess does; wearing regal duds, taking time to improve her flying skills and always watching for those in need of help.

Her brother is just annoyed with her uppity presence and would like to prove that she is not what she says she is. He faults her sneakers and her scabby knees as proof that she is not what she claims.  Gerry is undeterred...she says 'it's the price you pay' for being who you really are! Her persona radiates royalty.

Her best friend doesn't believe her either, but Gerry has something to say about that:

"I say you can be whatever you want to be.
You just have to let your SPARKLE out!
'For instance,' I tell her, 'YOU sparkle
when you play the trombone.'

(Fairy princesses are very supportive.)"

Art and music are her favorite school subjects but she comes alive at ballet class after school. That is where she really shines, even when her crown causes minor blips in her performance. And what do fairy princesses have for an after-school snack? Why, pink lemonade and sugar cookies with sparkles...what else?

I love the language and the gentle humor of this lively tale. Gerry is a princess to admire and emulate. While she is pretty focused on her princess persona, she is quick to show her little girl side and offers up support where needed. She also relishes the calm reassurance of her family. When her Daddy comes home to see his 'little princess' at the end of the day, she is elated. A familiar end to her extremely busy days is an early nodding off, with Dad doing the honors of carrying her up to bed. Sweet bliss for his princess!

I watched an interview with Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma not long ago on one of the morning news shows. They are having a wonderful time working together to bring new stories to their growing audience. They have already worked on sixteen other stories together; we can only hope that there will be many more. This is a delightful book to share with all aspiring princesses, and those who love family stories with humor and a dose of humility, too.

Christine Davenier proves herself adept, once more, at presenting us with a memorable character who has a vision of the world as she would like it to be. There is just enough 'sparkle' to keep us mindful of Gerry's imagined world, while also showing us a young girl with passion for life and all it has to offer. Do you know an aspiring princess who would love to find this among her gifts at Christmas? I know that I do!

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