CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 7. . . .October 19, 2012
Prince for a Princess. (Orca Echoes).
Eric Walters. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2012.
54 pp., pbk., pdf & epub., $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0200-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0201-8 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0319-0 (epub).
Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.
Review by Meredith Cleversey.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
"There are so many of them. How will we choose the right dog?" Christina's father asked.
"You don't understand," Bert said. "You don't choose the dog. The dog chooses you."
Bert pointed. Christina was standing off to the side with a dog. He was white and brown and very big—maybe the biggest dog of them all. He was almost the same height as Christina. He looked into her eyes as she scratched him behind the ear.
"I heard you call your daughter Princess," Bert said.
"Her name is Christina, but we call her Princess sometimes," her father said.
"Well, then it seems right that she and that dog belong together," he said. "His name is Prince."
"A Prince for a Princess," her mother said. "That does seem right."
Prince for a Princess, by Eric Walters and illustrated by David Parkins, tells the story of a little girl and her first dog. When Christina and her parents visit a farm full of retired racing Greyhounds, they're not sure they'll be leaving home with a new companion. But after Christina meets Prince, a big Greyhound with whom she forms an instant bond, there's no denying that their family has suddenly become a little bigger.
Told by a well-known Canadian author, Prince for a Princess is a great story. Eric Walters, who has authored over seventy novels and has won numerous writing awards for his children's and YA books, has teamed with "Orca Echoes" to tell the story of a girl bringing home her very first pet. Prince for a Princess is told through short, easy-to-read chapters, each accompanied by one or two illustrations drawn by David Parkins. The short chapters and easy language make this book ideal for children just beginning to read chapter books, and the story being told is one that can be enjoyed by a variety of children.
Prince for a Princess brings up some unique facts about the Greyhound dog breed, including the information that they roo when they are happy, and that some Greyhounds (particularly racers) don't know how to use stairs, even as adults. However, Prince for a Princess is not an informational book for first-time pet owners. While it is clear in the beginning of the story that Christina's parents are a little uneasy about getting a dog and don't know much about dogs, the family doesn't have any struggles with bringing home their new pet. Prince and Christina form an instant bond with one another, and some potentially troublesome aspects of owning this type of dog are ignored or simply explained away. For instance, although Prince is a very large dog, the family never has to work to ensure that he understands proper walking techniques and doesn't pull too hard or try to walk too fast for a little girl. As the story says, "Christina and Prince had an agreement. He didn't pull her, and she didn't pull him."
For parents or teachers looking to give a child an honest look into what becoming a pet owner for the first time is like, this story might not be the best option. However, Prince for a Princess is not intended to be informational in that regard. Its goal is to tell the story of one girl and her dog, and in that purpose, it is highly successful. Prince is lovable, Christina's devotion to him is charming, and the way even Christina's wary parents warm to the dog so quickly and make him a part of their family is touching. The information provided about Greyhounds is also very interesting and adds an educational aspect to a tale otherwise intended mostly for enjoyment's sake.
Prince for a Princess is a heartwarming story about a girl and her new dog. Eric Walters writes a lighthearted, endearing tale of two parents and a child bringing home a retired racing Greyhound and making him part of their family. Detailed illustrations that help highlight the story's plot and emotion, as well as the inclusion of interesting facts about the breed of dog, add depth to a story that, in itself, is full of fun. For children learning to read chapter books, and particularly for those that enjoy reading about dogs, Prince for a Princess is definitely a good choice.
Meredith Cleversey, a librarian who lives in Cambridge, ON, loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.
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