________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2000

cover The Trailer Park Princesses.

Pete Marlowe. Illustrated by Leanne Franson.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2000.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $ 7.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-616-0 (pbk.)., ISBN 1-55037-617-9 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Princesses-Juvenile fiction.
Sisters-Juvenile fiction.
Time travel-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1 - 4 / Ages 6 - 9.

Review by Valerie Nielsen.

*** /4


At bedtime, Jane tells a story to her sister Rebecca about four princesses who all look exactly the same. In fact, the four girls are copies of each other. The story unfolds with Rebecca's asking a question and Jane's adding a piece of the whole until the adventure is complete. First comes the earthquake, without any warning, which sends the princesses traveling through space and time; then come the landings in strange places, such as Ancient Egypt and the Wild West.
"...and then the earth SHOOK once more and they fell into the backyard of the Trailer Park and the earth stood still."
"What happened to their mother?"
"She bumped her head when she landed and she didn't remember a single thing."
"Not a thing?"
"Not one single thing. And they all lived in the Trailer Park forever after, but the two princesses never forgot."
"No," said Rebecca. "They never forgot." Of course, the two sisters must go off in search of their missing mother and siblings. Their adventure whisks them once again into the past where they look for clues as to the whereabouts of their royal relatives. Fortunately for Rebecca and Jane, back again in real time, they meet a wise old woman who sets them straight on the characteristics and duties of trailer park princesses.
image The author of The Trailer Park Princesses, Pete Marlowe, is a new voice in children's literature. His gift for creating convincing seven-year-old conversation carries the reader right into the imaginary meanderings of his appealing and adventurous protagonists. Seemingly simple though his text is, Marlowe's style is sophisticated, inventive and slyly humourous. Charming acrylic paintings by Leanne Franson, illustrator of The Girl Who Hated Books (1998) and Jessica Takes Charge (1999), are suggestive of Kady McDonald Denton's style and capture the tongue-in-cheek mood of The Trailer Park Princesses perfectly. The moral of this story is both cleverly conceived and subtly delivered, making it a very pleasant change from the kind of heavy-handedness which sometimes afflicts children's picture books. The tale would work well as a reader's theatre piece for grades two to four; however, the many pages of dialogue without tags will tend to make the book a little confusing as a read-aloud.


Valerie Nielsen is a retired teacher-librarian living in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364