Monday, March 18, 2013

New Book: Nobody Asked the Pea by John Warren Stewig

Nobody Asked the Pea by John Warren Stewig (Author), Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator) was released in January although its official release is given as March 15th. I usually wait a little while on picture book releases, hoping for some book imagery to appear somewhere on the web, but this book remains opaque beyond its cover.

Both Stewig and Wright are well-established in their fields and I am especially fond of Stewig's Mother Holly, which is out of print, but gave me fond memories of reading it over and over and over again with my niece Leighton when she was four.

Book description:

Readers might think they know the story of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea," but some characters in the story wold take issue with them. In this retelling one gets to have a say, even the pea, the crucial member of the cast.

This clever version of a favorite fairy tale is perfect for learning all about character and point-of-view. It is in line with the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts.

It also has a strong review from Kirkus Reviews, which provides a better description:

An extraordinarily arch and campy version of “The Princess and the Pea” is told from multiple points of view.

It opens with a cast of characters, each with a distinctive voice and typeface in the narrative, starting with Patrick the Pea, growing “rounder and firmer each day” and extremely pleased with himself. Queen Mildred hectors her son Harold about getting married, pronto, and she is the perfect stereotype of a controlling, nagging and obnoxious mother. Harold, meanwhile, just wants to hang around and hunt. A few princesses are met and sent away, until Princess Lucy appears in the castle hall, soaking wet and disheveled, and cannot sleep a wink on the pile of mattresses with Patrick the Pea hidden under them. Harold is kind of delighted to find an outdoorsy girl who loves to hunt, Queen Mildred is pleased to outshine the other queens in wedding planning (especially Queen Estelle, “who couldn’t plan a trip to the privy by herself”). The watercolor-and-pencil pastel-hued illustrations reveal deeply caricatured and exaggerated figures (including the mice and the horses, as well as Patrick the Pea).

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