- The Tossy-Turny Princess and the Pesky Pea: A Fairy Tale to Help You Fall Asleep; by Susan Verde
Trade ed. ISBN 9781419745874 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9781647003227 $15.54
Reviewed from digital galleys R 4–7 yrs
Our royal hippo protagonist loves a good snooze, and her bed is piled high with cozy blankets and comfy mattresses. One day, unbeknownst to her, a pea spills from the royal prince’s soup and rolls under her mattress, making for a rough night of sleep as she tosses and turns, certain something is poking her. The next night isn’t much better—the pea is still there, and now the princess is so anxious about not sleeping that she doesn’t sleep. Noticing her exhaustion, her pals give her some advice from their own sleepless nights: stretching, breathing, observing the stars, and that night, even with the onerous pea still in place, she manages to successfully nod off. This reassuring “The Princess and the Pea” adaptation for young insomniacs is wrapped in gentle playfulness, and the tone avoids becoming overtly directive, giving each character’s bit of advice a bit of fanciful charm (“I make my body into the shape of the lizards I see in the garden,” says the bunny gardener, while the alligator chef likes to breathe “like I’m smelling the most delicious cookies out of the oven”). The boxy digital art is occasionally overrun by its vibrant palette, but there’s a solidity to the strong composition, echoing the hippo princess’ posture, and the princess herself is surely a distant relative to Stutzman’s Tiny T. Rex (Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug, BCCB 2/19). This will be a welcome bedtime tale for the youngsters who aren’t settled by just a kiss and a glass of water, and their caretakers will likely appreciate the gentle introduction to good sleep hygiene.