Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Very Smart Pea and Princess-to-be

Mini Grey

Yet another book written by a vegetable, who helps humans find love and live happily ever after. Oh, wait, that's not a common theme, so this book really does stand out! Inventive storyline plus terrific illustrations by Mini Grey make this another wonderful updated fairy tale. She always does the best job breathing new life into stories that I thought had been played out. 

This is the well known story of the Princess and the Pea, but narrated now by the never-before-heard-from Pea. This super special veggie was born in the Palace Garden, where she was privy to hearing all the palace secrets. While the pea is growing on her vine, the Queen is nagging her son the Prince to find a bride and settle down. She gives him one year to complete his task, or his allowance will be revoked. Her threat is quite motivating and the Prince enters the dating pool.

None of the girls he meets are quite right. Too loud, too scruffy, too sleepy, too scary, too tidy, too pink, or too grumpy. The Queen has had it. She stalks into the kitchen, snatches a pea from a bowl and announces the prince will marry the first girl who can feel the tiny vegetable as she sleeps. And that is how the pea spends the next few months crammed under a pile of twenty mattresses and feather beds and a princess. Although the princesses might find the set-up extremely odd, they would never admit that to the Queen.

One night, the gardener who raised the Pea finds herself trying to sleep-balance on the towering stack. The Pea keeps her up all night, making the bed as uncomfortable as possible. Upon hearing of her restless night, the Queen declares the gardener to be the perfect bride (even if she does wear overalls to her wedding) thanks to the little pea. The married couple lived happily after ever, creating beautiful gardens with the Prince's allowance.

I love the way Grey works in all the vegetable details through the book. The Queen's bright green eyes look exactly like fresh peas, and the castle wallpaper is printed with rows of cascading carrots, leeks and peppers. One set of curtains is printed with strawberries and other with avocados. Even the stack of mattresses looks like a stacked sandwich with blankets that strongly resemble slices of tomato, onion, and lettuce.  

The gardener is visible through the window working away in the background on several different pages. It gives the reader the impression that the Prince's true love is right outside his window .... if only he were to notice. All the fun details make this an updated tale that you won't want to miss. 

Review copy provided by Random House. 

Blog Template by