Sunday, June 21, 2015

Perfecting the Princess? Princess in Training by Tammi Sauer

Dear Viola Louise Hassenfeffer:

Do you want to polish your princess skills? Camp Princess will teach you to wave, walk, and waltz just like royalty should. The day concludes with the Royal Bash.

Enroll now so you can be the darling of your kingdom!

Director, Camp Princess

Little Princess Viola Louise is not performing her princessy duties per expectations. Karate-chopping, moat diving, and drawbridge skateboarding are not prim enough for the King nor proper enough for the Queen.

The princess wants to please, so when the sign-up form for Camp Princess arrives at the castle, she's on it!

What princess wouldn't want to be the darling of the kingdom?

Viola Louise is pretty enough, but when her practice of the royal wave seems a bit pusillanimous, she adds her customary handy karate chop to rev up the movement. NOT kosher for Princess Camp.

The next skill is the Frills of Fashion. In ruffles, flounces, crinolines, and coronets, the princesses hit the drawbridge runway to learn the proper princessy pace. But under tons of petticoats and taffeta, trainee Viola is definitely overheated.

A cooling dive into the moat meets with disapprobation from Madame Gertrude.

Waltzing lessons give Princess Viola a chance to move and groove, but when she throws in some skateboard moves, Madame Gertrude lowers the boom.

As grand finale Royalty Bash begins, Princess Viola is disgraced and contemplating becoming a Princess Camp dropout, when an unexpected visitor crashes the party.



And her not-so-prim-and-proper princess practices come in handy as Viola Louise employs her heroic HI-YAAA and other disapproved skills to vanquish the dragon with a resounding THUNK, in Tammi Sauer's Princess in Training (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books).  No dragons were harmed in the production of this book (the dragon is seen to slink out a door, page right) as Princess Viola Louise Hassenfeffer is hailed as the heroine of the day and a darling of all the kingdoms in the countryside.

Joe Berger's illustrations are rowdy and rollicking cartoon fare, and Sauer's not-your-average princess tale fits right into the popular picture book genre of young royals who dare to be different. Little wannabe princesses who have enjoyed Deborah Underwood's Part-time Princess, Julie Andrew's The Very Fairy Princess and sequels, Jane Yolen's Not All Princesses Dress in Pink, Carmina Coyle's Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? and Ian Falconer's anti-princess prototype, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses. will find Viola Louise the perfect princess.

For more breaking-the-mold stories from Tammi Sauer, see her unlikely tale of a friendship between shark and minnow, Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever--or Snack Time? (2013) (see review here).

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