My Rainbow just loves this book! She asks me to read it almost daily. As it is really meant for an older audience, it’s a bit on the longish side for her 3-year old attention span. So we tend to read it in two sittings. There are also many call backs to familiar fairy tales which go right over her head at this point. I’d guess the ideal age for this book would be around 5 years old.
I was excited to notice that the author/illustrator, Leslie Elizabeth Watts is Canadian. She has illustrated over ten books for children and has won several awards. She was born in Weston, Ontario and now lives in Stratford Ontario.
Synopsis: Poor Princess Lunetta has been promised to a dragon. On her tenth birthday she is slated to become a dragon feast. She makes friends with an enchanted knight in frog-form. Frog Robert comes up with a plan to save her from the dragon. For an entire year the Princess will refuse to bathe. Thus, Princess Stinky Toes is born.
Illustrations: The illustrations are cute; bright, colourful and silly. There are many silly facial expressions. The illustrations are full of small details. For example, once the princess has decided to give up bathing the pictures show details such as flies hovering around her toes and spiders and small critters living in her hair. Rainbow finds the fact that there are mice and bats in the Princess’s hair riotously funny.
Story: I can take or leave the illustrations, but the story is where this books shines. It’s not dumbed down at all. The author is not afraid to use big words and she has a lovely descriptive style. For example the witch never simply speaks, she cackles, she screams, she shrieks. (Which helps liven things up when reading it out loud, as it’s easier to “get into character” with such great descriptions). The story take elements from some classic Fairy Tales such as Cinderella and Rapunzel, twists them up and adds them into the mix. The result is both amusing and enchanting.
Durability: I have the paperback copy of this book and I’m sorry to say it’s not terribly well bound. If you’re thinking of picking this up, I’d look for the hardcover version.
Rainbow says this book is “Good!”. She says her favourite part is at the end when the Princess looks in the mirror and sees how stinky she is.
I love that this story has a brave female hero that has a problem and solves it herself (with some help from a friend). As the Brave Frog Robert sums it up at the end “I admire your ability to be different under trying circumstances”, and isn’t that a moral we’d all love our little girls to soak up?
Overall we give this book an 8/10.
Where to find it?
I’m sorry to say that this is already out of print. You can still pick up reasonably priced copies via the Amazon Marketplace, or other used book-type spots.