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The average kindergarten student has seen more than 5,000 hours of television, having spent more time in front of the ... More


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THE PRINCESS GOWN

Author: Linda Leopold Strauss

Illustrator: Malene Reynolds Laugesen

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Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Princess Annabel is getting married. Tomorrow morning, the Queen will select the gown from among 40 wedding dresses offered as the dress. Hanna's father has made one of those dresses, and each of his children gets to help. As Hannah sews the last stitch, she finds a flaw in the material. Oh no! It will be the family's ruin. But Hannah knows something that no one else knows: Princess Annabel has a pet squirrel. She shares an idea with her grandmother, who immediately sets to work. Using her finest thread, she sews a squirrel in the fold of one side of the dress, and an acorn in another. The next day, the queen looked carefully at each dress. Her reaction confirmed the family's worst fears: this is ridiculous. Princess Annabel did not agree, but she must defer to her mother. Will the family be ruined? This is a fairy tale with a fresh storyline and new twist.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 10

Reading Level: 3.2

Age of Child: Read with a seven-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: We thought our daughter would cave under the suspense (and we weren't reading that slow). She loves all things princesses, and a princess who loves animals is even better! After reading the story, she wanted to go back and explore the pictures. She spent lots of time looking at each of the women in the last spread, trying to find the unique element to each of their gowns.

Adult Reader Reaction: This has all of the elements of a classic fairy tale, with a wonderful twist that makes it a unique story. The details in the writing are mirrored in the illustrations. Together, they add a dimension to the fabric of the story (pun intended). Hanna is such an important character, not because she had an idea, but because an adult listened to her. I love that there are no princes involved!

Pros: Children (especially young girls) will delight in this creative fairy tale that celebrates individuality, creativity, and taking chances.

Cons: Absolutely none.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is destined to be read and re-read. It is a story you will read with your grandchildren.

If You Liked This Book, Try: PACO AND THE GIANT CHILE PLANT / PACO Y PLANTA DE CHILE GIGANTE   TO KNOW THE SEA   A FOREST OF STORIES

Educational Themes: This is a story meant to be shared. There are themes of trust, faith, perseverance, risk, creativity, individuality, and optimism (seeing the glass as half full). The gown's mistake also gives you a chance to talk about creative problem solving. Bring the story to life by learning more about dressmaking or embroidery.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.2

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, family violence

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2009

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