Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Review #32: THE SECRET LIFE OF PRINCESSES by Virginie Hanna; illustrated by Cathy Delanssay

by Virginie Hanna
illustrated by Cathy Delanssay

Pub. Date: October 2009
Publisher: Langenscheidt Publishers, Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 26pp
Sales Rank: 269,623
Age Range: 4 to 8
ISBN-13: 9780843714760
ISBN: 084371476X

About the book (from the publisher):
Come discover what the fairy tales left out! Peek behind foldouts and flaps to uncover a treasure of royal secrets from some of your favorite fairy tale princesses. The life of a Princess is one of diamonds, ball gowns, and handsome Princes . . . but it’s also filled with little secrets. How did the Princess feel the pea? What lies in Sleeping Beauty’s spell book?

In The Secret Life of Princesses you’ll find out incredible secrets from some of your favorite Princesses, such as Cinderella, Thumbelina, and Snow White, and many more. Full of intriguing secrets and tidbits, this book takes children beyond the happily-ever-after ending of their favorite fairy tales, giving them the rest of the story. Beautiful full-page illustrations bring these princesses to life. Secret flaps and hidden envelopes reveal tongue-twisting magic spells, hidden messages, and more to keep your little princess endlessly entertained. There’s even a hidden pocket for her to write down her own secret!

  • Fully interactive! Secret envelops and flaps invite children to hunt for secrets.
  • Tongue twisters and rhymes make this a blast!
  • Featuring popular princesses that everyone knows and loves (Cinderella, Thumbelina, Sleeping Beauty) and some new ones for American children (Scheherazade, Donkey Skin). There is no other book like this that takes little readers beyond the fairy tales they know so well, giving them more material for the imagination – every kid wants to know what happened after the end of the story, and now they can!
  • Stunning full page illustrations, glitter and foil make this a truly beautiful book.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

My Thoughts:
I bought this book for my six-year-old niece and had it delivered to my office. When I showed it to my (female) co-workers they literally gasped at its beauty! There was a chorus of "Oh, she'll love it!" and "I want one!" It's definitely a book to treasure.

Twelve classic princesses, all gorgeously illustrated, reveal their secrets in little fold-outs and secret envelopes. If you've ever finished a fairy tale and thought, "But how did . . . " or "What about . . ." this book offers the chance to fill in the blanks.

The pages of the book are a lightweight cardboard and should stand up well to multiple readings and investigations of little hands.

My only complaint about THE SECRET LIFE OF PRINCESSES is that I would have liked to see more variations of skin tone. Of 12 princesses, only Scheherazade is not light-skinned. The Snow Queen might possibly be Asian, and Snow White is, of course, a brunette. One princess is a redhead. Thumbelina has masses of dark hair. That leaves 7 pale-skinned and fair-haired beauties to rule the pages of this book. I've seen more variation in this illustrator's work. I wish it had been represented in this book. However, the publisher has also released a book called PRINCESSES OF THE WORLD which I have on order. I think it will make a lovely companion book.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PRINCESSES is a seriously enchanting collection of artwork and whimsey. Too bad I have to turn it over to a six-year-old!

About the Authors (from the publisher)
Virginie Hanna was born in 1971 in Maine et Loire, France. From a very young age, she would invent stories and always dreamed of being a children’s storybook writer. She studied and practiced psychology for many years, and incorporates this knowledge of and sensitivity to children’s issues into her writing. She now divides time between her writing and her family.

Cathy Delanssay was born in 1976 in Nord à Douai, France. She’s illustrated many popular children’s books in France including: Give Me the Moon, Mieux que dix fees (Better than Ten Fairies), Le Bal des fees (The Fairy Ball), Le Murmure des dieux (The Whisper of the Gods) and many more.

Click here to visit the website of the illustrator.


Toni said...

Wow.. what a sweet book. I have this in mind for a gift for a special girl.

librarypat said...

Lovely illustrations. I love this type of book. Unfortunately I can't put it on the shelf of the library because all the little bits and pieces inside would be destroyed or lost.
I need a granddaughter!

itsJUSTme-wendy said...

Oh my gosh! This book sound soooo cute! It makes me want to go right out and buy one!
What a great review, Thanks!

Rebecca :) said...

This sounds like a book the 4- and 5-year-old girls in my class would absolutely adore and devour! They are obsessed with princesses. They dress up in ball gowns and heels and parade around. Every year a group has something they love and this year this is it!

Zibilee said...

Too bad I don't have a little girl in my life to gift this to. It looks like a wonderful book. It's a shame that the princesses don't have more varied looks though, it really would be neat to see a princess book with variations in the skin tone. Maybe your second book will be more pleasing in that aspect. I hope your niece enjoys the book!

Jemima said...

How Gorgeous! I must get a copy for my princess obsessed daughter. Thanks for the review. It looks lovely.