Twelve Dancing Princesses

K-Gr 3—The traditional tale of the enchanted princesses who dance the night away plays out as ballet in this sprightly telling. Barrager adds a bit of detail and nuance to the familiar plot, naming the girls after blooms in the garden—Rose, Iris, Daisy, Tulip. "Each one was lovelier than the flower she was named for." The digital depictions render the girls as flat figures with large, cartoon-style eyes, but they waft lightly across the royal lawn, their petal-shaped skirts all in pretty colors. Readers quickly learn that they are a droopy, sleepy lot most of their days, and the text offers a hint of things to come in the figure of the shoemaker. He mends the royal shoes, eventually solves the mystery of the enchanted nights, and wins the hand of his favorite princess, the red-haired Poppy. "Poppy really liked Pip, too, but she just couldn't keep her eyes open long enough to say so." With art resembling that of animated film and several graceful dance scenes, this story could easily be set to a sound track. The plot is true to that told by the Grimms, and nice bits of dialogue and observations by Pip thread easily through the narrative, bringing the characters to life and offering a pleasing tale for reading aloud and storytelling.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
In this retelling of the Grimms' tale, everyone in the kingdom attempts--and fails--to solve the mystery of the sleepy princesses. When the brave cobbler follows the young ladies and discovers the truth, he's rewarded with a lovely princess to marry. Digital illustrations portraying the wide-eyed, teeny-waisted, vacant-looking beauties may appeal to the happily-ever-after crowd.

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