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Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage, written by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton and illustrated by Christine Davenier. Little, Brwon and Company, Hachette. 2011. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"Unfortunately, Madame Danielle has a different idea. She wants me to play the Court Jester because I am so ebullient. I think that's a kind of soup, but she says it means "enthusiastic." So I guess that's okay. Tiffany gets to be the Crystal Princess."

I don't know how I missed sharing this book earlier than today. Oh, well....chalk it up to forgetfulness.

If you have met Geraldine you know her to be self-assured and quite delightful:

"Hi! I'm Geraldine.
I'm a fairy princess.
I know that I'm a fairy princess
because I FEEL it inside -
a sparkly feeling of just KNOWING in my heart."

So, when her ballet teacher creates a new show, Geraldine knows what her role will be. After all, it's called The Crystal Princess. She is sure she will be offered the lead role. Alas! That is not to be. Being Gerry, she accepts the role given and then bravely offers princess advice to the chosen dancer. It falls on deaf ears...

When the costumes arrive and the Crystal Princess dress is unveiled, Gerry is envious (as any fairy princess would be). Her court jester garb leaves much to be desired...wrong color, length, a hat and shoes with bells. How humiliating!  After much practice, performance night arrives. Wearing her crown underneath the jester's hat, Gerry is off to the show. As you might expect (and shouldn't be surprised to find) all does not go as well as it could.

There are slight blips in the stage performance; the audience is delighted, the dancers do their best, and Gerry comes to the rescue when the princess needs rescuing (as any fairy princess would).

"When we take the company photograph,
Madame Danielle puts me in the very front.
Afterward, she gives me the jester's hat and
stick as souvenirs.
Tiffany gives me my crown back.
It feels EXTRA sparkly!"

As she did in the first book, Christine Davenier uses ink-and colored-pencil to create her captivating and oh, so charming artwork. Gerry's expressions are in keeping with her ebullient personality and with the story's action. She is the fairy princess you want your children to meet...she is authentic, personable and very energetic.

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