CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 36. . . .May 18, 2018
Two Peas in a Pod. (Whatever After #11).
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2018.
162 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Aileen Wortley.
“But how can there be a princess if the king didn’t have a daughter?” I ask.
“Good question,” Lawrence says. “It’s been my job to find a princess. According to Bog tradition, she must be between the ages of eight and fifteen. The problem is that there are no princesses in any of the neighbouring kingdoms. And the one distant heir who might have agreed to rule Bog didn’t like the hot and humid weather and left just a few minutes after her arrival. So we have to find someone.”
“Wow,” Jonah says, “I can’t imagine giving up a kingdom just because it’s hot.”
“Princesses are extremely delicate, young man,” Lawrence explains. “In fact, here in Bog we have a princess test.”
“A princess test?” I ask.
“Anyone can claim to be a princess,” Lawrence says. “But there is one way to know for sure if someone is princess material.”
He can’t possibly be talking about the pea test, can he?
“How?” Jonah asks.
“By putting a pea under one hundred mattresses,” Lawrence says.
Oh wow. He is.
It’s a bad day for Abby. Certain she’ll be picked as the school carnival student leader, she’s devastated when somebody else is chosen. Friends are sympathetic, but it’s Jonah, her little brother trying to cheer her, who suggests a trip through the magic mirror located in their basement. Tapping on it, they and their dog, Prince are transported by Maryrose, its resident fairy, into a traditional folktale.
In this, the eleventh story in the ‘Whatever After’ series, they find themselves in the tale of The Princess and the Pea. Arriving in a humid, alligator-infested country called Bog, they take refuge in a castle, accepting the kind hospitality of the advisor to the deceased king. In a complete and hilarious misunderstanding involving Abby’s bed of a hundred mattresses and a pea, she is declared the temporary princess of the kingdom, having been judged to possess delicate princess-like qualities. The children have a life of luxury, but Abby, realizing her position has no power, uses her brains and resourcefulness to select a replacement princess who must be tough, clever, strong and kind… not just delicate!
Two Peas in a Pod is an endearing and engrossing read full of unexpected, imaginative turns. With readers being wise to the original story, they will appreciate the mirth of this fractured version. They will take pleasure in the many twists on the older tale and delight in the tension as to whether our heroes will get back home or be trapped forever in Bog. The main characters are strongly portrayed with quick-witted Abby and her can-do attitude towards problem solving and quietly perceptive and supportive Jonah. Together, they make a strong and affectionate team. Some minor characters are a little stereotypical, but the message about ‘girl-power’ is clear and sure to hit home!
Overall, Two Peas in a Pod is a fun, fast and humorous read. In addition to a clever plot and lots of adventure, it throws in a few not-so-subtle life-lessons that Abby is quick to grasp. The story is aimed at those aged 8-12, but younger children will also enjoy it as a read aloud.
Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian living in Toronto, ON.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|© CM Association
University of Manitoba
|This Creative Commons license allows you to download the review and share it with others as long as you credit the CM Association. You cannot change the review in any way or use it commercially.
Commercial use is available through a contract with the CM Association. This Creative Commons license allows publishers whose works are being reviewed to download and share said CM reviews provided you credit the CM Association.
Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - May 18, 2018.
CM Home | Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive