How does one fade an X, you ask? X-fade is theatre shorthand for crossfade, a lighting direction to gradually bring up a new lighting scheme to replace the one in use in the scene currently, thus “fading” across from one sort of light to another.

Today, we’re crossfading. We’re shifting the spotlight from the previous Very Fairy Princess books to the one that has just been released, The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl. I am delighted to be adding this hot-off-the-presses book to the Perfect Picture Book lineup. And in case you missed my previous links to Emma Walton Hamilton’s blog post about the Very Fairy Princess being about more than glitter and pink, you may read it here.

And now for a look at this brand new book!

Title: The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl!

Author: Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton

Illustrator: Christine Davenier

Publisher: New York: Little, Brown & Co, 2012

Genre: Picture Book, fiction

Audience Age: 3-8

Theme: individuality, believing in oneself, concern for others, inner “sparkle”, princesses, weddings, coping with changed plans

Opening Sentences: Hi! I’m Geraldine. I’m a fairy princess. Hardly anyone believes me, but I have a sparkly feeling inside that tells me it’s TRUE.

Synopsis: Geraldine, who believes VERY strongly that she is a fairy princess, is excited to learn that she will be flower girl at Aunt Sue’s wedding, even though the wedding isn’t going to be the grand affair she originally hoped for. She works hard to help make a backyard wedding as wonderful as possible, despite various things going wrong, but it takes something much more important than glitter and fairy wings to make her realize what truly makes life SPARKLE. (You can maybe guess what it is, but I think you should read the book to find out!)

Why I Like This Book: Like the other books in this series, Geraldine is a very real little girl who happens to believe with all her heart that she is a very fairy princess. (Like another very real little girl I once knew, who believed she could be a ballerina and a cowgirl, all evidence to the contrary.) These books don’t focus on the sparkly outer trappings that are so readily identified with princesses in general and fairy princesses in particular, however — and that’s what holds the greatest appeal for me. These books emphasize each child’s, each person’s, inner sparkle, the core of one’s own uniqueness, what makes each person special — and then takes that a step further to show how everyone can use her (or his) inner sparkle to make the world a better place. As Geraldine said in our interview a couple of days ago, “I always say you can be whatever you want to be, you just have to let your sparkle out!” And that’s what it’s all about: being yourself and embracing that true inner self with wholehearted delight.

Activities/Resources: One doesn’t have to go far to find resources for this book. Since Julie and Emma want children to understand that real princesses do wonderful things beyond looking pretty and meeting Prince Charming, they have compiled a plethora of activities and learning experiences.

On the Julie Andrews Collection website, there is a wonderful list of 30 things young (and not-so-young) princesses and princes can do to “let their sparkle out.” Thirty Ways to Celebrate National Princess Week.

At the Julie And Emma site (affiliated with their publisher) there are Very Fairy Princess games and coloring pages, as well as downloads related to some of Julie and Emma’s other books.

There is even a Very Fairy Princess website, which was launched April 17 (the release date for The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl!) http://www.theveryfairyprincess.com  There is much to explore on that site. In particular, there is an inspiring compendium of information about real princesses and the good they do in the world. You’ll be amazed at how many princesses there are! Real-life Princesses.

I want to make sure in all the princess excitement that young princes aren’t forgotten – boys can be assured that princes do great things in the world, as well. Perhaps your family could research some of the world’s princes and learn all that they do to make the world a better place.

A very good place to start might be the website of The Prince’s Trust,  an organization through which Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, helps change young people’s lives for the better. There is kid-friendly information and puzzles, as well as displays of children’s art work on the Children’s Page of the Prince of Wales’ official website.

Or your boys might be more interested in princes who are closer to their own age, such as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. There is a section about him (and about his wife, Kate) on the Prince of Wales’ site as well.

There are other princes all around the world that your family could learn more about. Just be aware that a google search for world princes retrieves lists of eligible princes and other lists that are not exactly kid-friendly.

Availability: The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl is hot off the press, released April 17, 2012, and is readily available in hardcover. It is also available in digital format for iPad, iPhone (from iBooks) and for Barnes and Noble Nook.

 

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”

Giveaway Reminder: If a copy of The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl and a Fairy Princess Wand might help you let your sparkle out, remember that everyone who comments on any of this week’s blog posts will have their names added to the draw to be held on Sunday, April 29. Grand Prize is a copy of Emma’s and Julie’s new book and a specially made wand. Second Prize is a copy of the book.

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