Friday, 25 May 2012

Angelina at the Palace by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig (Puffin Books)

Before Angelina Ballerina got her CGI TV makeover, she was the star of a set of whimsical ballet-based books by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig.

The TV show drives me absolutely potty. Though Charlotte doesn't watch a lot of TV (and we watch even less), it's often on during sleepy weekend mornings on Channel 5 and Charlotte absolutely laps it up.

1) It features a ballerina

2) It's unashamedly girlish and gleeful.

These are probably contributory factors to why it drives me potty if I'm honest so it was nice to go back to the original books and see just how sweet and charming they were in comparison to the rather sterile and saccharine telly treatment.

Helen Craig's detailed anthropomorphic mice drawings are delightful, and this tale of three princesses and Angelina's visit to their palace (with Angelina being slightly awkward and on the backfoot for once) is far more entertaining than anything the show has to offer. When Angelina's beloved ballet teacher falls ill during the visit, it's up to Angelina and her plucky little cousin to rescue the day and the ballet show that the three princesses take part in.

It was really nice to see Charlotte being able to take this book on its own merits without feeling that she didn't relate to it purely because the TV treatment is so different. Such is the way of things though, and I often wonder if she'd feel the same if she saw one of my old Rupert annuals for instance, and compared that to the current show -  or one of the classic Noddy books that don't feature any of his recent CGI updated looks either (how many have there been now?)

Charlotte's best bit: The scary dragon, of course.

Daddy's favourite bit: Helen Craig's lovely drawings.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars