The Princess who had no Fortune by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb

princess who had no fortune

4 out of 5 stars.

There are two types of picture books I go for: 1) Adorable and funny, or 2) Exquisitely illustrated. This one falls firmly in the latter category.

The story is a cute one about a princess who is too poor and hard-working to go to the ball to meet the prince. In fact, she doesn’t really like princes. They tend to not do much. Instead, she needs a gardener to help her get ready for a party.

The illustrations are a wonderful blend of colourful bits that look like a surreal blend of painting and collage, set up against backgrounds and foregrounds that are pure black silhouettes. The contrast really makes the colours pop, and gives the tale a bit of an old-fashioned, wood-cut illustration feel. The entire book is lush and charming.

This is a must-read for parents who are tired of run-of-the-mill princess books and want something a little more quirky and a lot more visually interesting.

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Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali and Raphaelle Barbanegre

snow white and the 77 dwarfs

4 out of 5 stars.

I was given an ARC of this book.

This is bloody adorable! Snow White runs away from the witch, but instead of finding a cottage with 7 dwarfs, she runs into a cottage of 77 dwarfs. Those are a lot of dwarfs to take care of! Since they refuse to help with all the chores, she starts to wonder if there is something more restful she could be doing with her time. Maybe falling asleep isn’t such a bad idea after all…

This book is super colourful. All the dwarves are dressed in a different shade, so every page is glowing with rainbow hues. It is very eye catching. The dwarves are also a little more mischievous than Disney would have us believe. There are scenes where Snow White is trying to get chores done (like beard maintenance) and the dwarves are punching each other (I really love the idea of beard maintenance and the illustration of Snow White brushing a dwarf’s beard is really cute).

The humour of the book will appeal to both parents and kids. Children will get a laugh out of the misbehaving dwarves and adults will love some of the facial expressions (the one where Snow White has obviously just been woken up by 77 dwarves demanding coffee is hilarious. Her face after the dwarves disappear after she asks for help is also a hoot).

This is a great retelling and I love the vibrancy of the illustrations. It has just enough words to be used for story time, so I am off to ask my director to buy it for our library. I know some preschoolers who will love begin read this!

I Am Otter by Sam Garton

I am otter

4 out of 5 stars.

Since part of my job involves story times, I read a lot of children’s books. I will present some of my favourites on this blog.

This is a relatively new one that I couldn’t stop laughing at. It is a combination of funny writing and hilarious illustrations. An otter lives in a house with an otter keeper. The otter tends to get into mischief. One day, he decides to open a toast restaurant (in the kitchen), with his teddy bear as chef. Unfortunately, they make a huge mess and Otter is forced to fire his Teddy Bear and hire Giraffe instead. Otter keeper comes home to the mess (which is probably the best picture in the book) and Otter realizes that he has lost his Teddy Bear.

The illustrations are detailed and the facial expressions are wonderful. The writing made me giggle. I made a bunch of my coworkers read this. Please pick this one up if you want something funny. May be a bit long for the preschool crowd, better for kindergarten.