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Monday, November 23, 2015

Princess Pistachio and the Pest, written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. Translated by Jacob Homel. Pajama Press, 2015. $12.95 ages 4 and up

"Pistachio throws her clothes on. No crown for her this morning. She slaps on her baseball cap, takes her backpack and her flashlight, and careens down the stairs. She rushes into the kitchen like a tornado. She's singing loud enough to rattle the windows. Loud enough to wake the neighbors. "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' - "

Instead of going exploring with her friends on the first day of summer vacation, Princess Pistachio is tasked with the challenge of looking after her little sister Penny. The princess has a penchant for adventure and she is not pleased with her mother's request.

"Half an hour later, Pistachio hits the road. She is dragging behind her the wagon piled high with dolls, stuffed animals, plastic buckets, shovels, rakes, and ... her little sister!
Penny wears her rabbit-ear hat and her Superman cape. She looks ecstatic. She has also managed to hide the dog under a stuffed elephant."

It is not an auspicious beginning. Things just keep getting more and more complicated as the day passes. First, Pistachio is accused of stealing bananas and a melon from the grocer, only to later catch Penny chomping on a pear from her wagon. Who's the thief? Each friend she meets is excited about their planned adventure. Pistachio must decline their repeated invitations in favor of caring for her sister. YEESH!

When Penny climbs a wall and promptly falls off, Pistachio is scared for her safety. Hurtling after her to the other side, she is angry when Penny pretends to be hurt and is not. Only then do they realize that they have landed in Mrs. Oldtooth's garden. The kids in the neighborhood call her a witch. Penny and Pistachio must deal with her threats before making their escape while Mrs. Oldtooth is distracted.
They head to the park for a play ... a recipe for further disaster. They are asked to leave after a series of infractions. If  the opportunity to care for her little sister tomorrow arises, how will Pistachio react?

Perfect for early readers wanting more text in the books they are reading! There is so much action, humor and description. The illustrations perfectly match the tone and share with readers the adventures that the sisters have. It's quick to read and worthy of reading again.

Huzzah for Princess Pistachio! I know we will meet again!


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