Princess Hyacinth

Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith.

Released September 22, 2009.

Princess Hyacinth had a very distinct problem:  she floated.  Unless she was tethered to something, she would float up and up.  So she wore a heavy crown with a strap to hold in on and had weights in her hems and socks.  She was allowed to float indoors because they could get her back down, but she was never allowed to float outdoors.  As she watched the children play outside, a boy who could fly his kite higher than anyone else came and said hello. Princess Hyacinth ventured outside with all of her heavy weights on and noticed a man selling balloons.  Because she was the princess, her wish to be tethered in the bunch of balloons was granted.  But when the string breaks, where does that leave the princess as she floats up and up into the sky?

The tone that this book is written in will have you smiling.  It has a certain confidence and silliness that makes it irresistible.  And it has obviously been written to read aloud to children.  The book design itself is clever, as words float very high on the page when the Princess is floating.  The size of text is played with as is the color, making reading it aloud that much more pleasurable.  Heide’s writing is paired perfectly with Smith’s art.  The illustrations match what is happening on the page with a heaviness to the art when the princess is tied down and a lightness when she is in the air.  As with all of Smith’s art, there is a tongue-in-cheek aspect to many of the pictures which will be appreciated by adults and children alike.

Highly recommended, this is a wonderful read-aloud for classrooms or story times.  This is a princess story that all children will enjoy, which you can’t say often!  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Do Not Build a Frankenstein!

Do Not Build a Frankenstein! by Neil Numberman

A little boy dashes up and tells a group of children that they must never build a Frankenstein!  It takes an immense amount of time and effort.  At first, it might seem like fun to have your own monster to play with, but then it just becomes annoying.  They will break your toys and scare your pets.  They want constant attention and are very needy.  Because they won’t take a hint and leave you alone, you are then forced to move to a new town.  And just when you think that that might work, they show up with very unexpected results!

Numberman has created a Frankenstein that is so far from frightening and so very funny.  The big green body atop spindly legs are ridiculous in the best sense.  Then you add in the googly eyes and patchwork and he becomes a lovable monster.  The illustrations are vibrantly colored, and have a great sense of movement.  The pacing of the story itself is fast and almost breathless.  When reading it aloud, make sure to save enough breath for the shouts of warning about building a Frankenstein!

A very loud, fresh picture book that is all about friendship and fun.  Perfect for sharing at storytimes as that final special book.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.