________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 2 . . . . September 9, 2011


Princess Grace and the Jellyfish.

Jane Moseley.
Lunenburg, NS: MacIntyre Purcell, 2011.
28 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-926916-15-6.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 3-5.

Review by Barb Janicek.

* /4



Daddy and Mommy are frightened but Princess Grace says, "It's OK, don't worry I will call my friends the pink jellyfish. They will rescue us from the Man-of-War jellyfish. Pink jellyfish do not sting!"

Princess Grace shouts, "Pink jellyfish! Pink jellyfish! Come and help us. Come and save Daddy and Mommy."

All the pink jellyfish friends of Princess Grace swim at once to her side, and swim below Princess Grace, and under Daddy and Mommy to carry them on their backs safely to shore.

"Thank you, pink jellyfish," calls Princess Grace. "You are my best friends because you do not sting and you carried us away from the Man-of-War. Thank you!"

Grace is at the beach with her parents who warn her to watch out for "the blue jellyfish." As the family is swimming in the ocean, a seagull warns that the blue jellyfish is nearby (which Daddy tells Princess Grace is a Man-of-War). Although her parents are frightened, Grace calls her friends the pink jellyfish and they come and rescue the whole family.

internal art      There is a lot of repetitive dialogue, and consequently not much happens in the plot beyond the family goes out, sees jellyfish, and comes back in to shore.

      Publicity surrounding the book indicates that it is about addressing or getting over children's fears about jellyfish. But Grace was never afraid her parents were. And there is nothing which actually addresses how to alleviate legitimate fears children may have. The family simply gets carried back to shore by the non-stinging jellyfish. Nor is there any reason provided to admire or appreciate jellyfish beyond the fact that they are pink.

      Illustrated in watercolour, the pictures throughout the book are not consistent. Some pages, the ones with just scenery, are beautiful enough to want to frame and hang on a wall. Jane Moseley's talent as an artist has been honed over many years. Yet, it is still apparent that the book has been illustrated by someone who does this as a hobby. The illustrations with people in them, done as sketches, look rough and unpolished.

      The words "Princess Grace" always appears in blue, a few sizes larger than the rest of the text. "Jellyfish" is in pink. Both are in a curly-cue style. It is a jarring and unnecessary use of a fanciful font. Usually, when the font changes in a book, it is to enhance the story, to give the reader an indication of how to read the word and give it an inflection. Or, it is to highlight key vocabulary words. "Princess Grace" hardly qualifies as something to be highlighted on every page for emergent readers.

      Other than identifying one kind of jellyfish, the Man-of-War, this book does little to impart any useful information about jellyfish beyond "they sting you with their tentacles." All we know is that Mommy and Daddy are frightened of them. Grace's solution, to call her pink jellyfish friends to rescue them from the bad blue Man-of-War, is imaginative but confusing as no explanation is given as to whether some jellyfish are harmful while others are safe, or what the difference is. It is mentioned that the pink ones don't sting, but what kind are "the pink ones"?

      Ultimately, Princess Grace and the Jellyfish feels like the kind of story parents make up for their children at bedtime, the kind that is about that particular child, where it doesn't matter what happens because they just like being the hero of the story. And, really, that's exactly what this is: a lovely story from a grandmother to a granddaughter. As a keepsake for Grace, it's a beautiful treasure. As a book that will be enjoyed by children who are unrelated to Jane Moseley, Princess Grace and the Jellyfish is one that can be skipped.

Not Recommended.

Barb Janicek is a Children's Librarian with Kitchener Public Library, in Kitchener, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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