A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The lesson here is that appearances can be deceiving: The earl proves to be much more engaging than expected, and for all her antics the duchess has some depth. It’s a nice alternative to conventional princess stories.
Positive Role Models
The Earl of Norm is patient, persistent, and ultimately true to himself. The Duchess of Whimsy, once she gives the earl half a chance, is open-minded and friendly to her suitor.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know the vocabulary in this well-written fairy tale will challenge -- and very possibly put off -- younger readers.
Is It Any Good?
Randall and Peter de Seve have dished up a charming story that teaches a valuable lesson with a considerable dose of humor and joy. Randall de Seve brings together her odd couple with a sparkling story that evokes both princess fantasies and the grade-school cafeteria social order. The exuberant artwork by Peter de Seve -- well-known for his New Yorker covers, among other work -- are crammed with funny details that will entrance kids.
Like the duchess herself, everything about this book is lavish and extravagant, from the expressive illustrations to the lyrical, elegant language. The latter, however, may put off some younger kids. The first readings will very likely require frequent interruptions to define unfamiliar words: The first few pages alone toss out soirees, attire, rutted, manor, apparel, and joie de vivre. Patient kids who enjoy wordplay will stick with it and feel rewarded, but less eager readers may give up.
Beautiful, funny, and, yes, whimsical illustrations add magic to a fairy tale courtship.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.