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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
This princess doesn't want to be a queen: She likes her motorcycle, her dragon pals, and freedom! In this feminist reworking of a classic fairy-tale theme, Princess Smartypants goes against her parents' wishes, outwits her suitors, and remains a happy single gal. The writing and the art are high-spirited and full of humor.
Is it any good?
A cast of goofy characters, meticulously rendered in ink and cheerful, gleaming watercolor, populate author/illustrator Babette Cole's artwork. There's also a wealth of funny details that keep busy eyes active.
Princess Smartypants may be a smart-aleck, but she's sincere and full of life and charm. Prince Swashbuckle is her perfect foil: urbane, traditional, and -- under all the suavity -- insincere. His efforts to win Princess Smartypants have more to do with ego than affection (one of the medals on his uniform is shaped like a pig, just the kind of detail that adds humor and depth to this feminist tale). The ending comes as a surprise. It seems Princess Smartypants has finally met her match, until she pulls that last trick out of her bag. A cry of "Yahoo!" went up during a read-aloud when a group of 5-year-olds came to this subversive moment.