Friday, August 1, 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 1st August 2014 - "Ten Little Princesses" by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty (Orchard Books)

Ten Little Princesses

Written by Mike Brownlow

Illustrated by Simon Rickerty

Published by Orchard Books

When this book arrived through our letterbox, and Charlotte ripped open the packaging with a squeal of glee, I rather unfairly caught sight of the cover and groaned inwardly.

"Oh no, it's pink!" I thought.
"Oh no, it's about princesses!" I grumbled.
"Oh no, it's going to end up as a book of the week without a doubt!" I moaned.

There's a famous phrase about not judging a book by it's cover, and that is definitely the case whenever that cover contains the names Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty because you can always guarantee that you're going to have a good chuckle at the contents. So pessimistic Daddy soon gave way to chuckling, chortling, snorting daddy as Charlotte and I settled down to read Ten Little Princesses.

Don't be fooled by the cover. Don't be fooled by the fact that Mike and Simon have already produced "Ten Little Pirates" and don't assume that this is a cash-in sequel, it's actually funnier than "Pirates", possibly even more tongue-in-cheek.

Ten little princesses set out from the castle to attend the ball, and just like in "Pirates", some pretty nasty things happen to the poor damsels as they head out on their travels. Slowly but surely ten become nine, then eight, then seven - and you get the idea. But it's the way the princesses are (somewhat ruthlessly) dispatched that made both of us cackle with glee. We won't give away the ending (but look away now if you don't like spoilers, it's OK, no one dies!)

On one level it is very similar to "Ten Little Pirates", granted - but we felt a little less upset about a stack of pirates meeting a grisly end. Here it's quite amusing how Mike and Simon have pulled together several well known fairy-tale princesses and reinforced just how dark their tales are when you look at them closely, and in fact I kept thinking about "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" by Edward Gorey while reading this (which coming from me is high praise, I love Edward Gorey's work to bits!)

Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty work so well together that we can't wait to see what they come up with next. After enjoying "Ten Little Pirates", we're really blown away by how great this is - even if you (like me) are naturally predisposed to running a mile every time you see something pink and princessy.

In a nutshell, buy this book simply because - if anything - it pokes a lot of fun at the usual prissy "not exactly feminist" princess books kicking around, and is hugely entertaining on so many levels. Brilliant and highly recommended, and a huge lesson to me that I should take Charlotte's word for it more often before leaping to conclusions!

Charlotte's best bit: She fell in love with spotting all her favourite princesses popping up in the story, but was overjoyed to find that "her favourite" won out in the end (We won't reveal who!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: A choice lesson in not taking a book by it's cover, it's crackingly brilliant and entertaining, dark in places and utterly hilarious. Highly recommended indeed!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Orchard Books)

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