May 24, 2016

THE SEVEN PRINCESSES: Sibling Struggles and Solutions

An adage in the world of publishing for kids says that there's always room for one more dog book, cow book, princess book, bear book or other familiar iconic characters if... and only if... something about the story makes it stand out from the pack.

A search of book titles including the word "princess" resulted in more than a hundred PAGES of links. What possible hook could an author imagine to make a story stand out in such a crowded field? 
How about one with SEVEN princesses? 

That's certainly a start, but it would need something else pretty special to hold an audience. Author/illustrator Smiljana Coh wasn't intimidated by that challenge. This new release isn't her first princess book. PRINCESSES ON THE RUN had a warm reception from Publishers' Weekly. It's no surprise that she had the confidence to have-a-go at another!

Running Press Kids. May, 2016
The spring release of THE SEVEN PRINCESSES, written and illustrated by Smiljana Coh, brings us a  princess book that is memorable on several counts and for several audiences.
The energetic and independent princesses will appeal to girls and boys, too. From the harlequin-patterned endpapers to the classic village and castle to the updated clothing and conventions, stereotypes are flipped for a contemporary treatment. These seven independent and self-sufficient sisters are recognizable and familiar despite their obviously privileged life. 
The palette shifts from comforting pastels to somber sepia-grays as the "kind-hearted, quick-witted, highly skilled" sisters slip into sibling spats. Anyone who has ever used tape to divide a shared bedroom or labeled special items "hands off" will identify with their squabbles and revel in their eventual solutions.
The visually diverse family is equally diverse in interests, including plenty of science, nature, arts, and athletics. The illustrations enhance the reality of a loving and complex family navigating the ups and downs of daily life. 
The story these sisters tell would be similar if they lived in one of the village homes at the base of the castle. But being "princess" sisters  provides initial appeal, allows elaborate execution of their decisions, and elevates their struggles and problem-solving with colorful detail and humor. 
This is a princess book that will be pulled from the shelves again and again: by educators, parents, and families seeking books dealing with conflict resolution, diversity, and family dynamics. More importantly, young readers will return to it once they recognize themselves in any one of the princess sisters, their varied interests, and the ambivalence of sibling relationships. 
If you want to read what others have had to say about THE SEVEN PRINCESSES, check other posts on the blog tour:
5/21 Mom Read It  

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