The Princess and the Peas by Caryl Hart
Age Range: 3 to 8
A book that encourages a child to start eating vegetables is definitely a winner! I am guilty of trying to disguise vegetables in food (courgette and cocoa muffins actually taste really good!) but The Princess and the Peas encouraged my daughter to eat peas after a long time refusing to, now she’s also asking me to make pea muffins!
The Story: Lily-Rose Mae’s idyllic life with her father in a forest cottage is interrupted when he tries to feed her peas (he even hides them in smoothies!) which make her feel sick. The doctor diagnoses Lily-Rose Mae as a princess so she packs her bag and goes to live at the palace. Lily-Rose Mae is excited by all the jewels, the pretty clothes and the toys but the lunchtime menu is terrible and she is also required to do some very intensive princess training! Lily Rose Mae decides that life at the palace is not for her and she’ll go home and eat her peas – nothing could be worse than being a princess!
We love reading this hilarious, rhyming story which also includes a short retelling of the traditional fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. The text is easy to read and Sarah Warburton’s pictures are beautiful, Lily-Rose Mae is cute and adorable (but not pink and princessy). The colourful, mini pictures move the story along and help the young reader to retell the story in their own words. In contrast the doctor’s cautionary retelling of the original fairy tale is a block of text illustrated with dark, black and white pictures.
My daughter is quite concerned by the lack of a mother figure in the story, interestingly I can’t remember her questioning the lack of a father figure in other stories. Her concern made me realise that we don’t have many books that show families other than the two parent plus child(ren) family so The Princess and the Peas has provided us with a stimulus for discussion about different family structures. It is also great to read a story that gives the message that there is no place like home and being a princess (celebrity!) is not necessarily something to aspire to!
Our copy of the book is part of the Stories Aloud programme and includes a free audio reading. You can also download a free podcast, more information can be found on the Nosy Crow website.
We won our copy of The Princess and The Peas in a Twitter competition – it’s a fantastic prize
We also love Supermarket Zoo by Caryl Hart. See our recommendation here.Posted by Catherine Friess
February 11, 2013 Monday at 9:15 am