CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 17. . . .January 8, 2010.
A Royal Little Pest. Mine!
Anita Reynolds-MacArthur. Illustrated by Karen Roy.
Pickering, ON: Pollywog Bog Books (Distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside), 2009.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 2-6.
Review by Valerie Nielsen.
Prince Hayden MacCheeky was a REAL little prince. He lived in a royal castle on a royal lane with his royal parents, his royal brother Prince Campbell, his royal sister Princess Ava and his royal dog Goober.
Prince Hayden is a mover and a shaker. In the morning he spends stacks HIS
royal blocks; in the afternoon he crashes HIS royal trucks into one another and in the evening he bounces HIS royal bouncy ball.
Prince Hayden had SO much fun playing on his own with HIS royal toys that he NEVER wanted to share them with anyone else.
Sharing is not Prince Hayden’s strong suit. In fact, he is given to yelling “MINE!” as a prelude to grabbing and throwing the disputed item across the room. Sister Princess Ava and brother Prince Campbell and even poor Goober are treated to such displays of temper regularly. Things are looking downright dysfunctional in the McCheeky clan, when, just in the nick of time, the king announces a family visit to royal cousin. The siblings are overcome with excitement. Princess Ella is known to own some of the finest royal toys in the land! But alas, Princess Ella is as rude and possessive of her toy collection as her royal cousin. The youngest McCheeky is shocked and stunned: he has had his royal feelings hurt…not just once but again and again! Fortunately, fictional five year-olds learn considerably more quickly than their in-the-flesh counterparts; hence on the last page of A Royal Little Pest. Mine! the reader learns that from that day forward Prince Hayden McCheeky decided to SHARE his royal toys. “And he NEVER yelled, screeched or threw his royal toys EVER again.”
There is not much subtlety in author Anita Reynolds-MacArthur McCheeky books about the misbehaving royal, Prince Hayden, but then the intended audience of 2 to 6 year-olds-is not known for sophistication in theme detection. The first book about Prince Hayden McCheeky, A Royal Little Pest was published in 2008 and appears to have been a rip-roaring success with the pre-school to Grade One crowd. The wide appeal of the McCheeky books certainly derives from the listener’s instant recognition (Now just who is it that Prince Hayden reminds us of?) of that bumptious little miscreant.
Karen Roy’s illustrations are great fun. According to information on the verso of the title page, they were created digitally using Adobe Illustrator CS4. Whatever the method, the artist has the facial expressions of the royally spoiled prince and princess down pat. Varying the text with bold-face and super-sized letters for emphasis in the story is a technique which will help advance both letter recognition and reading skills in six and under group. Small listeners have been heard to opine that the McCheeky books are “way cool.” Parents, elementary librarians and childcare specialists would do well to listen up to these pint-sized reviewers.
A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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