I’m celebrating the launch of a friend’s book this week: THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGS by Veronica Bartles. It’s a Frog Prince retelling about being clear about what you want and who you want to be.
Because Veronica is in one of my critique groups, I was lucky enough to watch this adorable picture book develop from initial idea, through several drafts, and eventually sell to Harper Collins.
From the outset, our group loved spunky Princess Cassandra, who longs for a pet frog to keep her company. Lucky for her, there are plenty of frogs in the kingdom. Unlucky for her, the frogs have a habit of turning into princes when she shows them affection. Soon, the castle is swarming with princes (hilarious!) determined to “be married at once” to the young princess. No, thanks!
Sara Palacios’ character design is just right for Cassandra, who happily sticks to what she wants. This princess rocks glasses, a tiara, and an adorable pair of high-tops.
Will Princess Cassandra get her frog? You’ll love the delightful resolution to the story. I appreciated the subtle message that we are who we know ourselves to be inside, no matter what we look like on the surface.
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGS debuts tomorrow, November 15. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
A hilarious fractured fairy tale inspired by The Frog Prince, about a princess who only wants a pet frog—but keeps getting pesky princes instead. From debut picture book author Veronica Bartles and illustrator Sara Palacios.
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGS is appropriate for all ages and would make a great family read aloud.
Who will like it?
• Kids who like funny twists on fairy tales.
• Readers who like friendship stories.
• Fans of characters who “know their own mind” – Junie B. Jones, Ramona, etc. This princess finds her own solution instead of giving in and being compliant.
What will readers learn about?
• There are always new ways to tell an old story.
• The value of gentle determination.
• The importance of being true to yourself.
Another lucky thing – there is a great Stevie Smith poem about this fairy tale. It’s focus: How does the frog prince like being a frog?
THE FROG PRINCE
By Stevie Smith
I am a frog
I live under a spell
I live at the bottom
Of a green well
And here I must wait
Until a maiden places me
On her royal pillow
And kisses me
In her father’s palace
The story is familiar
Everybody knows it well
But do other enchanted people feel as nervous
As I do? The stories do not tell,
As if they will be happier
When the changes come
As already they are fairly happy
In a frog’s doom?
I have been a frog now
For a hundred years
And in all this time
I have not shed many tears,
I am happy, I like the life,
Can swim for many a mile
(When I have hopped to the river)
And am for ever agile.
Read the rest and listen to Stevie Smith reading this poem at The Poetry Archive.
Check out Veronica’s website for upcoming signings and events.
I’m going to spend another day on this book tomorrow, when I’ll address the importance of non-compliant female characters in kidlit. [UPDATE: The post is up!]