In this story, the Princess is in a car race, one that is almost over. It is the last lap and she has just made a pit stop where she was informed she was in last place, which of course makes her situation seem hopeless. But instead of giving up, she hits the gas, and with a burst of rainbow-powered speed, she starts passing all the other racers, who all happen to be fairy tale or nursery rhyme creatures of course.
She zings past all these characters while the author uses words that connect with the characters with their stories. Such as leaping past the rabbits from Peter Rabbit, and spinning out Rumpelstiltskin, and butting in front of the three Billy Goats Gruff.
We see familiar characters such as wicked witches (from three stories), Jack and Jill, the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs, Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. But there are also less familiar faces, such as the Golden Goose, the Ugly Duckling, and the Cobbler.
Even when it seems like she may not make it, she doesn't give up and steps on the gas.
And of course, she ends of winning the race. After dealing with typical race-winning duties (spinning donuts, getting her trophy, and a couple of other things), she invites everyone to a party at the castle. Because, I mean, what is a fairy tale story without a castle?
The story is told by a narrator and the frog sports commentator. When we see the regular text, we know the narrator is telling the story, but then we also see the zigzag speech bubbles and know the frog is telling what is going on in the race.
I love that all these different characters are included, some of them in very unique vehicles, such as the mine cars for the dwarfs and the pie car that the four and twenty blackbirds burst out of. The racetrack even has a hill with a well at the top that she beats Jack and Jill down. All of which are wonderful ways to connect the characters with their stories.
I can see this story appealing to a wide range of children. There are those who love fairy tales who will love to see all their favorite characters. Then there are those who love cars who will enjoy seeing the race. And for those parents who are tired of seeing a sparkly princess in need of rescue, you will be able to share this spunky princess who takes charge and wins against all odds.
For our family, this was a huge hit as we have those who love princesses, and those who love racing. We love fairy tales as well, and we also love the movie Wreck-It Ralph, which I immediately thought about when I saw this book. You know, princess in a race, dealing with impossible circumstances. I love the way the illustrator gives action to the story with the rainbow burst, the lines showing speed, the dust and smoke swirling and the traffic cones being knocked over.
This is a great book for sharing these familiar children's story characters in a new setting, while being reminded of their stories. If your children don't already know these tales, it is also a great way to introduce them, and then head out and grab their stories to read. Of course, children who know the stories will be the ones who understand the connections the best. Such as when the Gingerbread man admits that the princess "Can catch me" or when Little Bo Peep and the sheep try to stay with the princess "but the Princess lost 'em!"
This is a wonderful book, and one I highly recommend.
The Princess and the Pit Stop is published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. You can purchase the book for $16.99.
Here's a little more information about the author and illustrator:
Tom Angleberger is best known for his bestselling Origami Yoda series. He is also the author of the Qwikpick Papers series, the Inspector Flytrap series, Fuzzy, McToad Mows Tiny Island, and many other books for children. Visit him at origamiyoda.com
Dan Santat is a critically acclaimed author-illustrator best known for his Caldecott-winning picture book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. You can visit him at dantat.com.
And now for the great news! One of my readers will get to win their own copy of The Princess and the Pit Stop.
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Disclosure: I received a hardcover copy of The Princess and the Pit Stop in exchange for my honest review. No further compensation was given. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.