CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 12. . . .November 21, 2014
Pistachio Shoelace is convinced that she is really Princess Pistachio of Papua. When a package arrives on her birthday addressed to “my little princess”, she believes her suffering is about to end. She now knows that her real parents (the king and queen of Papua) will be coming to get her. She will be saved from the very boring Shoelace household at 23 Maple Street where she lives with her mother, father and obnoxious younger sister Penny.
However, her boring life continues. Her mother forces her to eat spinach and to go to school. Her sister is a mess, and Pistachio has to babysit her. At school, her friends make fun of her princess outfit. What is a princess supposed to do? However, when Pistachio finds out who really sent her the surprise package, she concludes that “She is nothing at all.” She is very angry and makes a cruel wish which leads to an important discovery about what is really important in her life.
Marie-Louise Gay is the author/illustrator of over sixty books for children. She has created many memorable and whimsical characters such as Caramba, Sam and Stella who continue to delight both parents and young readers. In 2013, she was awarded the Claude Aubry Award from IBBY Canada for distinguished service in children’s literature.
In Princess Pistachio, Marie-Louise Gay appeals to young readers making the transition to chapter books. The text is easy to read and full of engaging conversations between the “princess” and her family and friends. Her friends are brutally honest with her when she pretends to be someone she is not: “You are no more a princess than I am. What has got into you?” Young readers will definitely be able to identify with Pistachio Shoelace’s desire to be someone else while suffering through family responsibilities and obnoxious siblings
The illustrations are full of important information which adds to the story. Pistachio has bright red hair and loves to dress in mismatched clothing showing readers that she is an individual with strong ideas. Her irrepressible spirit is on display throughout the picture book. She dances joyously with her dog and dresses up as a “real” princess to go to school. Although Pistachio does not appreciate her supportive family at times, she soon learns that they are very important to her – particularly her obnoxious younger sister Penny!
This book can definitely be used as a read-aloud for early emergent readers. Fluent readers can read it themselves. Princess Pistachio is a beautifully written and luminously illustrated book which will help children make the transition to chapter books. Readers of all ages will also be thrilled to learn that there will soon be a new Princess Pistachio book!
Myra Junyk, who lives in Toronto, ON, is a literacy advocate and author.
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