- The Runaway Princess by Johan Troïanowski
Troïanowski, Johan The Runaway Princess; written and illus. by Johan Troïanowski; tr. from the French by Anne and Owen Smith. Random House Graphic, 2020 [272p] Library ed. ISBN 978-0-593-11841-2 $23.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-593-12416-1 $20.99 Paper ed. ISBN 978-0-593-11840-5 $12.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-593-11842-9 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-8
Robin is a princess, but she isn't interested in etiquette lessons or staying home; she wants to go to carnivals and explore hidden worlds and, yes, sometimes get into trouble. She's in luck when her adventures bring her into the company of abandoned brothers Paul, Matt, Lee, and Omar, and the new friends set off to explore the wide world together. This French graphic novel features three stories of Robin and her friends as they battle witches, run from pirates, and eventually find their way home. Magic is abundant here, but it's clearly a normal part of life, with no comment being made regarding the queen's ability to fly or a mermaid's enchanting [End Page 233] young Paul with her gaze. Troïanowski's ink drawings are undeniably cheerful in sizzling watercolor and crayon colors, adding to the fantastic, playful nature of Robin's world. What makes this title truly stand out is the interactive nature of the actual text, as readers are asked to shake the book, shout at its pages, complete puzzles, and actively participate in Robin's adventures. There's plenty of breaking of the fourth wall, as Robin asks the reader to turn the book at one point so they might escape a horde of enchanted pumpkins (and Matt immediately asks, "Who is she talking to?"). Lovers of fantasy who have outgrown The Paper Bag Princess are sure to gobble up this lively romp.