Sunday, August 09, 2009

Princess Pig

Princess Pig by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Tim Bowers, Random House, 2009 -- publisher supplied review copy

A commoner, who suddenly finds herself bedecked with the trappings of royalty, discovers that it is not easy being a princess. This is not The Princess Diaries, nor Just Ella. Instead, Spinelli has cleverly translated this familiar theme to "down on the farm" for little guys.

Pig eagerly assumes the title of "Princess" when when a gust of wind drapes her with a sash from a nearby country fair beauty pageant à la Miss America. She acquires a crown ( a broken teacup) and gold necklace (flowers) and basks in "publicity." It is lonely at the top though and she realizes a being a princess may not what it is cracked up to be.

This traditional story takes wings and soars thanks to Tim Bowers imaginative, cuddle-up-close-let's-savor-the pictures illustrations. His farm animals faces are comic and expressive. His rich shadings and hues give the pages warmth and a slightly (to this reader) nostalgic feel that harkened me back to the Eulalie (Eulalie Banks) illustrations from the Platt & Munk books of my childhood.

Look at Pig's face when she first puts the "crown" on her head. Her pleasure is a thing to behold as is the dismay of the other animals. I've enjoyed Bowers's other work but Princess Pig is a treasure.

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