Age Range: 3 to 6
The Story: The King and his servants are very busy preparing for Princess Ruby’s birthday. The spoilt princess is shouting orders and throwing tantrums to ensure that her birthday is the best and on the big day presents are piled all over the palace. Disaster strikes when the palace collapses under the weight of the presents and the King becomes trapped under the rubble. With her father missing Princess Ruby realises that he is more important than any presents. Luckily he is found safe and Princess Ruby prepares a picnic for his rescuers. She and the King exchange their life at the palace for a simpler life in a treehouse.
I love the way that such an important message is portrayed in a humorous way. Princess Ruby is very spoilt and the King definitely needs to take some of the blame for her outrageous behaviour as he pampers to her every whim. When Princess Ruby complains that she hasn’t received what she wanted the King tries to placate her with more presents. However, despite the fact that she is so horrid, her tantrums and demands do make us laugh. It is only when the King is in danger that Princess Ruby realises that material goods are not as important as her father.
The Princess and the Presents is told in an easy to read rhyming text and I love reading the dialogue in a funny voice. Sarah Warburton’s illustrations are hilarious, there are so many amusing details in the pictures. Princess Ruby’s tantrum is especially funny, she screams so loudly that you can see her tonsils! We love the glittery shoes that Princess Ruby asks for, they’re so bright that her dog has to wear sunglasses! My daughter always looks for the dog who, although not mentioned in the text, is present throughout the story. The dog has a wonderful range of facial expressions, she even cries with Princess Ruby when the King is trapped. A sniffer dog, firemen, policemen and a doctor all join the butler and the maids to rescue the King who appears from the rubble looking remarkably clean and unscathed!
The yellow cover is bold and eye catching and the vivid pink endpapers show Princess Ruby’s birthday list which includes a mini submarine, a cinema and a squirrel! A predominance of bright pink is used in the pictures at the beginning of the story to reflect Princess Ruby’s spoilt behaviour and tantrums, pink gives way to soothing green once the King has been rescued and Ruby realises how selfish she has been.
Thank you to author Caryl Hart for sending us a review copy of The Princess and the Presents. The book arrived just before my daughter’s birthday and has been very well read. We find it very funny and are very happy to recommend it on Story Snug.