A nice addition to the series.

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA

From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the well-known Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale with a Russian setting.

The Once Upon a World series travels the globe setting familiar Western fairy tales in different locales. This latest addition to the series is set in Russia and tells the story of the “lonely young prince who wanted to fall in love” and of his parents’ insistence that the bride-to-be be a princess. After traveling far and wide and meeting many princesses who are not right for him, the prince returns home, disappointed. One rainy evening, a wet and cold, dark-haired princess appears at the castle door. Refreshingly, the prince and princess fall in love not because they are a prince and princess but because they have talked and found they have much in common: they have traveled widely, explored the same places, and had adventures. Mirtalipova’s illustrations have a pleasing folksy feel, many pages decorated with pretty flowery borders. One double-page spread of the princess being taken care of by a host of servants is particularly appealing. (With the exception of one brown-skinned princess, all the characters are white.) Though the text has been simplified and the presentation is in board-book format, the intended audience is not the toddler set. And the prince and princess? As with the traditional telling, the princess passes the pea test and they live happily ever after.

A nice addition to the series. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0019-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

From the My First Fairy Tales series

This board-book retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” features colorful, retro-style illustrations and a few movable flaps.

This version of the red-caped protagonist sports a distinctive cone-shaped hood as she enacts the familiar motions of the story. The sturdy interactions include a swinging basket, a blanket that covers the wolf on Grandma’s bed, a spinner that depicts the wolf’s dreams; they give younger kids something to manipulate but do not add much to the story. There are regrettable inaccuracies and elisions in Bradley’s adaptation of Maurin’s translation of the original French text. The neck of a bottle protrudes from the basket, which readers are told contains “cake and butter” for Grandma, and the wolf wears a pair of frilly pajamas, which the text calls “one of [Grandma’s] nightgowns.” This quick story ends with the hunter shown wielding a pair of scissors on the wolf’s bulging belly as the text recounts that he “rescued Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother” (who emerge unscathed with the pull of a tab). One of the main disappointments of this shortened (but still text-heavy) version is that it skips the “Grandma, what big eyes you have!” routine. The publisher recommends an age range of “0-36 months,” which is consistent with the format but not with the audience’s developmental readiness. Companion title Pinocchio, with illustrations by Tiago Americo, is similarly awkward and unsuitable.

Skip. (Novelty board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-7338-5625-3

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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This will surely appeal to tots thanks to the manipulatives, but the story itself is good only for providing a foundation...

THE THREE LITTLE PIGS

From the My First Fairy Tales series

An interactive board-book version of the classic tale.

Finding a way to present a classic tale afresh is a nearly impossible task. In this version, illustrator Gwé attempts a new take by adding manipulative wheels and sliders that advance pieces of the story. This includes manipulatives such as the transformation of straw, sticks, and bricks into houses with the swipe of a finger and an effect whereby the big, bad wolf’s chest first puffs up and then disappears with his exhalations. By and large, these gimmicks work, but clarity relies on the correct setup of the manipulatives. Otherwise, for example, the door to the third little pig’s house will already be closed when readers come to that page, taking away the dramatic slamming effect. The illustrations themselves are simple and cartoonish. The only humans that appear are three white men who dole out building supplies to the pigs. As is perhaps preferable for the audience, the story is tamer than classic versions: no gobbled-up piggies, no boiled wolf. The simultaneously publishing Goldilocks and the Three Bears, illustrated by Marion Cocklico, contains similar although more diverse interactive elements (lifting flaps, sliding objects, and finger sliders). In this book, the story is all about the movable elements; the text is bland.

This will surely appeal to tots thanks to the manipulatives, but the story itself is good only for providing a foundation for better retellings. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-7338-6150-9

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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