Sunday Afternoon Visits: Percy Jackson, A Carnival, and Developing a Sense of Story
The Silk Princess: Charles Santore

Princess Baby: Karen Katz

Book: Princess Baby
Author: Karen Katz
Pages: 32
Age Range: 0-3

Princess BabyPrincess Baby by Karen Katz arrived in a surprisingly large box, because it came to me from Random House with a glittery gold, star-shaped wand. It commanded my attention. (Thought I don't believe that the wand is available with regular purchases.)

Princess Baby is a simple story, suitable for very young children, about a little girl who is tired of all of the inaccurate pet names that people call her (gumdrop and sweetie pie and the like). No, this little girl, who delights in wearing a crown, a cape, and sparkly shoes, and showing off her queenly manners, wants to be called by her real name, "Princess Baby".

With only a few words on each page, and very short sentences, Princess Baby's voice sounds like that of a slightly advanced toddler. The page spread with the most words out of the book reads:

"But I am not a buttercup
or a giggly goose.
I am not a cupcake.

Please don't call me Little Lamb,
and never ever
Sweet Gumdrop."

I especially like the short, declarative "I am not a cupcake". I could see that phrase catching on in a family.

Although her sentence structure is simple, the baby's grand manner and use of the word "please" give her a regal air. She also bears the classic toddler's certainly about what she wants, even if she's having trouble conveying that to her parents.

But what really makes this book are Katz's mixed media illustrations. The pictures accompanying the above quote show an unhappy little girl as buttercup, goose, cupcake, lamb, and gumdrop. They are priceless. Most of the pages include a mix of patterns and bright colors, sure to please the eye of preschoolers. The baby's crown and shoes are rendered in textured glitter on the cover, and the pictures inside the book look as though one could feel the rough surface of the glitter (though those are, in fact, smooth, and seem to be photos of glitter). The baby's stuffed animals all wear tiny crowns, less dramatic than her own, and they drink out of spotted teacups on flowered saucers, on a yellow and white polka-dot tablecloth. Visual treats are everywhere.

I recommend Princess Baby for pre-schoolers, especially girls, and anyone who has ever wanted to be a princess.

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (Random House imprint)
Publication Date: January 8, 2008
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews: In the Pages, The Well-Read Child, Comics in the Classroom.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.