The Princess and the Presents
Nosy Crow, 2014
hbk, RRP $A19.99
It’s Princess Ruby’s birthday soon and according to her father the King, nothing is too much for his spoilt, pampered daughter who is an entitled, obnoxious brat. “My special day must be the BEST. Or else!” she said. She demands a giant tree house, and a parrot that talks; a pair of fancy shoes that light up when she walks; a new tiara for each day at school, and a pony, some roller skates, and loads and loads of jewels. Apparently besotted by his daughter, unable to say no to her whining, or perhaps fearful of her ability to throw tantrums where she screams so loudly you can see her tonsils, her father dashes out with a great big case of cash. But even his best efforts are not enough for this “greedy little tyke” who is looking for a mobile phone, three puppies and a bike. The more she demands, the more he gives her until there are presents piled high in every room in the palace.
And then disaster strikes. And a lesson is learned.
In this cautionary tale about being careful about what you wish for, Princess Ruby’s character is so unlikeable that not even the most precious of princesses in the class could empathise with her and wish to take her place. But then there is some salvation after the disaster which makes the whole story work in a way that’s not apparent from the start. It provides lots of opportunities for discussion, not only about the characters but also values.
Written in rhyming text and accompanied by boldly coloured illustrations that are full of humour and detail that they lift the text so it doesn’t become too moralistic, it remains entertaining to the end. Even the boys will enjoy it!