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  • Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff by Robert Paul Weston
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer
Weston, Robert Paul . Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff; illus. by Víctor Rivas Villa. Razorbill, 2013. 207p. ISBN 978-1-59514-567-3 $15.99 R Gr. 3-5.

The citizens of Spiff are a trendy bunch, perched on the cutting edge of fashion ("They were always wearing the sassiest styles/ which of course they would sport with the smuggest of smiles"). Princess Frannie, the king's less-than-chic daughter, prefers books to clothes, however, and refuses to heed her father's request that she don something other than comfy pajamas to the upcoming ball. Meanwhile, in the neighboring and far less ritzy realm of Spud, the recently crowned Prince Puggly is feeling hesitant about attending the Spiffian ball himself, certain his Spuddish style will only get him mocked and ridiculed. When circumstances bring the two neighboring royals together, they concoct a plan to teach the Spiffians a lesson or two about true class. Goofy but gentle humor along with some delightfully inventive word play characterize this novel in verse, making it an excellent choice for a classroom or family read aloud. The small trim size adds accessibility, creative typography and text layout (including intricate chapter headpieces) accentuates the fractured fairy-tale feel, and Weston's rhyming couplets are funny in their form and ingenuity ("He heard from below him . . . the tearing of threads!/ The fizzle of fabric being ripped into shreds!/ The splitting of seams! The unravel of yarn!/ All that King Dandy could say was: 'Oh, darn'"). Even the mostly predictable lesson of the book is made humorous with a droll rhyme: "Whether wild or refined, whether subtle or brash,/ you can wear it—as long as you don't get a rash." Aspiring fashionistas and poets would likely agree. [End Page 397]



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