Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Boy, I'll tell you...work has been kicking my butt recently. We've been INSANELY busy with new promotions, a new reward program, Spring Break crowds, and the forthcoming holidays that there has nary been a moment to breath, let alone read! Yes, I've been going through withdrawals, but it just makes me appreciate those quiet moments I can steal away to read a passage, digest a few pages, or, in the case of today's title, get spirited away in the illustrated pages of a storybook. Ladies and gents, members of the royal court and reptilian guests, join me in welcoming today's book of choice...
Laura Amy Schlitz
The thing about this one is that it isn't your typical storybook in many ways, which will leave adult readers clamoring to get their hands on their own copy, and wee ones requesting longer or additional sit-and-read times.
First off, the length...at 74 pages, it's definitely on the hefty side for your typical bedside or story time selection. To me, it simply meant the more the merrier and with that wonderful cover art, not to mention the "unde" candidate potential beneath the jacket, I was totally convinced that I HAD to journey through these pages, their number was of no consequence. For parents, it means spreading the book over multiple bedtime reading requests, or making an afternoon of it on the weekend.
Second, the illustrations. While abundant, beautiful, and filled with whimsy, they depict what can at times be a faintly scary crocodile, a cross princess (which is probably more lethal than the croc), overly focused royal parents, and a nurse maid with a bit of an OCD issue revolving around cleanliness. Now don't get me wrong, the croc dressed as the princess and actually thinking he could fool anyone is hilarious, and the princesses escapades into the great big world were smile inducing, but the overall spread from happy to stern made it stand out in my mind.
Last but not least, the story. Oh my word, the story! I gasped, I whoa-ed, and as things progressed, I laughed out loud. I couldn't help it! I was expecting a story about a princess and a crocodile, and while yes, it was still about a princess and a crocodile, it was so much more. It reminds us to be careful what we wish for, take the advice we receive from our well meaning adult caretakers with a grain of salt, don't be afraid to ask questions or voice suggestions so long as we do so with respect for the other party, and that cream puffs can apparently tame even the most surly of "beasts".
In a word, it was FUN. In several, it's definitely a ray of sunshine in the storybook arena that I'd imagine not keeping a lot of shelf time as it is checked out over and over and over and...well, you get the picture.
About the author...
Laura Amy Schlitz is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, the Newbery Honor Book and New York Times bestseller Splendors and Glooms, the Scott O'Dell Award winner and New York Times bestseller The Hired Girl, the sumptuously illustrated chapter book The Night Fairy, and other critically acclaimed books for young readers. A teacher as well as a writer, Laura Amy Schlitz lives in Maryland.
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About the illustrator...
Brian Floca is the author-illustrator of the Caldecott Medal winner Locomotive, the Robert F. Sibert Honor books Moonshot and Lightship, and other picture books, and is the illustrator of many more books for young readers. Brian Floca lives and works in Brooklyn.
Special thanks to Raquel at Candlewick Press for the copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the illustrator, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time, remember....if it looks good, READ IT!