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THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA by Hans Christian Andersen


by Hans Christian Andersen & illustrated by Maja Dusíková

Pub Date: June 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-86315-857-5
Publisher: Floris

This unadorned translation of Andersen's whimsical tale comes from a German edition of 2007.

The pictures are pellucid: Readers see the prince coming home laden with paintings of various princesses who do not fit the bill. They see why on the next page: One princess is sticking out her tongue, and another is picking her nose, and so on. The king and queen are playing chess on that dark and stormy night when there is a knock at the door, and it is the king himself who trundles down the castle stairs, candle and key in hand, to let in a very damp and bedraggled princess. It is the queen who places a single pea on the bedframe and orders the 20 mattresses and 20 quilts to be laid atop it. Our heroine wakes to complain that she barely slept and is “black and blue all over!” The prince knows then he has found a real princess, and a wedding ensues. It ends with the puckish (and traditional) lines: “The pea was put in a museum, where it may still be seen. And that is a true story.” Dusíková’s pictures are full of soft edges and soft colors, with pretty architectural details and an assortment of castle denizens, including a pair of cats and a toddler in jester’s motley.

A rendering to bring a smile or possibly a giggle.

(Picture book/fairy tale. 5-8)