________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 14 . . . . December 5, 2014


The Princess and the Frozen Peas. (Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists).

Laura North. Illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2014.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0481-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0446-1 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7566-3 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7558-8 (html).

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Kerri Hutchinson.

*** ½ /4


“The King wants proof that she’s a real princess before he marries her,” said one servant.

“A real princess won’t be able to sleep if there is even only one tiny pea underneath a big pile of mattresses,” said the other.

“I am a real princess,” thought the Princess. “But I will pretend that I’m not.”



The Princess and the Frozen Peas is modern twist on the classic fairytale. In this retelling, the princess is not interested in marrying the cranky old king, and she outsmarts him. Unlike other portrayals of princesses, this princess is intelligent, independent, and sophisticated. She has no interest in marrying the king, and she has a plan to outsmart him and his servants so that she isn’t forced to marry him. Each night, the servants place something under her mattress, believing that, if she is a real princess, she won’t be able to sleep. But each night as they place a pea, bags of frozen peas, porcupines, pirates, and more under her mattress, she pretends to sleep through the night. At the end, the king is convinced that she is not a real princess, the wedding is called off, and the princess is able to catch up on her sleep.

     The early reader format suits younger audiences, but the sentences and vocabulary are complex enough to keep an older child interested. Often the plot of an early reader is secondary to developing a young reader’s comprehension and fluency, but this is not true of The Princess and the Frozen Peas. The story is funny and captures the reader’s imagination. The vibrant, charming illustrations are a good fit for this retelling.

     Like other “Crabtree Tadpole” early readers, there is an interactive component for the reader. At the end of the story are two puzzles encouraging readers to recall the chronology of the story by rearranging six pictures. The second puzzle asks readers to match speech bubbles to the correct character. The final page features “Notes for adults” to help extend the reading experience before, during, and after the story.

     This early reader book, part of Crabtree’s “Tadpole Fairytale Twists” series, is complete with charming illustrations and a fun story that will appeal to readers.

Highly Recommended.

Kerri Hutchinson is a library technician with the Region of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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