Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Tony Ross
Publisher: Andersen Press USA
The Little Princess is upset that her brother won’t play with her. Her mother reminds her that she will have the chance to make friends at school, which starts tomorrow. The next day, the Little Princess hangs up her coat and crown and attempts to make friends on the playground, but no one wants to play with her. The Little Princess finds other children who have no one to play with and brings them together. At the end of the day, as the new group of friends is getting ready to leave, the princess puts her crown back on. The children are surprised to find out that she is a princess. The Little Princess invites everyone back to the castle for tea—even the children who wouldn’t play with her.
The pictures in this book are rough and childlike—crooked smiles and stringy hair that is filled out with color. The princess in the story doesn’t wear a fancy dress like traditional princess, but that may extend the appeal of a “princess story” to children who don’t care for dressing up. This book does a good job delivering its message on making friends by noticing others who may be lonely. The lesson will most strongly appeal to children who are nervous to start preschool, kindergarten, or a new school. The twist where the children are startled to find out the main character is a princess is fun, but it also introduces a weakness that may confuse children. In real life, there may never be a moment when those unkind want to befriend you, and the book doesn’t address the complexity of those who only want to be friends with someone because of what they are rather than who they are.