- ISBN-13: 9780763648220
- ISBN-10: 0763648221
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 80
- Reading Level: Ages 4-8
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.9 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Animals - Alligators & Crocodiles
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Royalty (kings queens princes princesses knights etc.)
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Legions of schoolchildren will empathize with overscheduled Princess Cora, whose well-meaning but misguided royal parents insist that a regimen of boring reading, mindless exercise, and frequent bathing is the only way to ensure that shell be fit to inherit the throne. After they refuse her a dog, Cora channels her simmering anger into a letter to her fairy godmother, which she then rips upa toothless act of rebellion that Schlitz (The Hired Girl) infuses with magic: Because it was a letter to her fairy godmother, every scrap turned into a white butterfly and flew away. Coras godmother gets the message, delivering a pet the monarchs justly deserve: a crocodile with an outsize id and none of Coras impulse to please. In illustrations that amplify Schlitzs wry humor, Caldecott Medalist Floca (Locomotive) produces a reptile that delightfully runs amuck. A mop wig and frilly dress let princess and croc to swap places, allowing Cora much-needed freedom while the crocodile trades insults with the Queen (Reptile! Mammal!) and gnaws on the fitness-obsessed King (just a little). Utterly charming from start to finish. Ages 48. Authors agent: Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
The wisdom of a little mischief
BookPage Children’s Top Pick, April 2017
Poor Princess Cora. Her anxious parents are determined to fix all of the things that might be wrong with her. Their solution is to keep her overscheduled. Cue excessive hygiene (three baths a day) with the nanny, studies over dull books with the Queen and intensive exercise sessions with the King.
Cora, who just wants to play, so deeply resents her tightly scheduled life that she writes a letter to her fairy godmother. Wishing for a dog, she ends up with a crocodile, who promises to chew on people Cora doesn’t like. She strikes a deal with the reptile—“I want a day off,” she tells him—and he takes her place, dressing like her and telling her to head out and have fun. The look on Princess Cora’s face here is spectacular, as she’s never once had the opportunity to see what leisure is like.
This ruse works long enough for Cora to get dirty and have a blast outside. The adults back at the castle are too preoccupied (only at first) to notice that Cora’s place has been taken by a crocodile, one who essentially imprisons everyone, simulating Cora’s own daily experiences. On the castle grounds, Cora engages all her senses in moments of exploration and wonder, all the while putting her problem-solving skills to work. Through all this, Princess Cora finds peace. She also rescues herself on her own terms, speaking up in the end for what she wants, having found her courage in her play.
Newbery winner Laura Amy Schlitz, in seven well-paced chapters, has a lot to say about the modern phenomenon of rigorous educational standards and children’s lack of free time for play. As the crocodile wisely asks Cora, what kind of life is one with no trouble? There’s also a lot of humor here: The crocodile’s get-up as a little girl is delightfully absurd, and Brian Floca brings it all to vivid life in his playful illustrations.
Timely and incisive, this one’s a keeper.