Sunday, June 03, 2018

Love Will Find A Way! La Princessa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya

There was once a lonely prince who longed for a princessa of his own, but his mother the Queen claimed the last say on that. And La Reina was picky. Only a princessa of superior sensitivity and breeding would do for her little principe. The queen insisted on perfection; the prince just wanted some affection!

And then fate smiled on the lonely prince.

But here came a maiden en route to her castle.
"I hope I can stay here, if it's not a hassle."

She winked at the prince, who fell for her fast.
"No matter what Mom does, I'll marry this lass."

But La Reina won't give the match her blessing until this lovely little princess passes the gentility test. Borrowing a device from Hans Christian Andersen, she stacked up many mattress in the guest room, sneakily inserting un guisante (a pea) under the bottom colchone (mattress).

The princess was tired from her travels and couldn't stifle a yawn. She promised to sleep like a log until dawn.

The Queen is sure her test is securely in place, but the prince goes to bed with smile on his face.

El Principe practiced his "I dos."

He knew that this maid was the one he should choose.

But young readers will have no doubts that in spite of La Reina's machinations, there's a royal wedding in store, in Susan Middleton Elya's modern Peruvian takeoff on Hans Christian Andersen's literary fairy tale, La Princesa and the Pea (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2017). Elya's well-chosen Spanish vocabulary makes it clear to youngsters that they're not in Denmark anymore, but the meanings of the words are easily intuited from the context and illustrations, as well as with the help of Elya's handy glossary. Meanwhile the charming Hispanic-styled illustrations of artist Juana Martinez-Neal reveal how this prince ensures that his bride will be the girl of his choice, as Neal slyly shows the lonely prince is seen sneaking a couple of pitchforks and some sizable rocks under the mattress to help this romance along, and the starry-eyed young lovers at last get the wedding they want. It's a happily-ever-after ending in a jolly take-off and a comic tricking-the-trickster tale with a Latin flavor. As a read-aloud along with Andersen's version of The Princess and the Pea (Classic Fairy Tale Collection), this one makes for some fun with compare-and-contrast considerations. Says School Library Journal in their starred review, "This engaging read-aloud is a fresh reimagining of a classic."

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