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Not Just Another Princess Story

by Sheri Radford; Qin Leng (illus.)

In her latest book, Vancouver author Sheri Radford creates an unconventional fairy-tale princess who takes on the tricky task of finding her own Prince Charming.

Not Just Another Princess StoryPrincess Candi has always had to manage without the benefit of parental guidance. Long ago, a wizard turned her mother into a pickle and her father into a doofus who can’t remember his daughter’s name, but refers to her vaguely as Jujube or Fudge Nougat. A practical girl who wears gumboots under her dress, loves math puzzles, and knows how to do a little research, Candi consults her old book of fairy tales for advice when her father decrees it is her duty to marry. None of the traditional prince-finding methods prove fruitful: Candi isn’t convinced by the fake dragons supposedly slain for her, and is bored by the narcissistic or slavishly devoted princes she finds as a result of kissing frogs and consulting a fairy godmother.

Frustrated, she gives up and goes to university­ to study math – where, of course, she finds Prince Jack, another math student, and just the guy to provide her with a happy ending.

The flippant tone of Not Just Another Princess Story may wear on some readers, though eight-year-old sophisticates will probably find it hilarious. While the idea of an independent princess who is not content to wait around for a prince to come along has been explored frequently in picture books, it is developed here into a longer story for early readers, one greatly enhanced by the illustrations of Toronto artist and animator Qin Leng. The lively absurdity of Radford’s text is well-matched by the expressive details and imaginative variety of Leng’s wonderful pictures.