'A sweetly written, superbly illustrated story with a strong and very important message.' By The Wishing Shelf Awards on January 8, 2016.
As I grow older and, I hope, a little wiser, I am beginning to find Disney films very annoying. Why? Well, why is it every princess has to look identical? Why is it every Disney princess has to be stunning in every way? Not only is it bugging, but it also sends the wrong message to children. Basically, if you want to be a winner, you must be pretty. Well, here's a book that sends a very different message to children and I think it's fab!
The hero of the story is Charlie-Marie, an eight year old who is told she must wear glasses. But, as she rightly tells her mother, 'Princesses don't wear glasses'. But, when she meets a fairy from the Land of Beauty, she learns that beauty is not what she thought it was.
And so begins her magical adventure!
This is a very warmly-written story. I can sort of tell that the author enjoyed writing it. To me, it had a sort of sweet Enid Blyton feel to it. A perfect children's book for a cold night in front of a log fire!
I very much enjoyed the fact that the characters were not overly described, and, subsequently, the story had good pacing. In fact, they didn't need to be, as the wonderful drawings very much brought the characters to life. I particularly liked Gerard, the ladybird, and how, at last, the girl can see how many spots are on a ladybird's shell.
The cover also looks fab and, on the back, there is a well-written and snappy blurb.
If I can find any fault in the story, I thought the first chapter had a little too much 'tell' and not enough 'show'. But, apart from that, the story is well-written and perfectly paced. I'd be happy to recommend this book as a bedtime reader for younger children (4 - 7) and as a first chapter book for slightly older children (6 - 9). I think girls would probably enjoy it more.