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BOOK REVIEW: The Twelve Dancing Princesses, pictures by Anna Walker

| 1 November 2016 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Twelve Dancing Princesses, pictures by Anna Walker

Little Hare
April 2015
Hardcover, $12.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Picture Book




Anna Walker, world-renowned illustrator known for All Through the Year, What Do You Wish For, and Mr. Huff, just to name a few, has turned her hand to the classic Grimm Brother’s story, originally titled The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces

The illustrations are simple but engaging, as is Anna’s style, and the story is reflective of the original, with a couple of touch-ups on the wording to make it easier for kids of today understand, but while maintaining the original “Grimmness” of the story, with the threat of a beheading hanging over any many who thinks he might be able to solve the mystery but inevitably fails. 

Coming at this story from an adult perspective, having loved this tale when I was a kid, there are definitely some questionable morals within. There’s the thing with the sisters drugging the princes who come to solve the mystery, so the men will sleep and the princesses can go out dancing; the princesses showing no remorse at the thought of how many men had died just so they could keep partying; the idea that they’re killing off all the princes in the land as they fail to solve the problem, which means they’re… rather out of luck if they want to form an alliance with another kingdom; the choice of the soldier to wed the eldest sister when the youngest sister seems to be a much better person and the eldest seems to be something of a bossypants at best.

Also, who made those slippers that could only last one night of dancing before being riddled with holes/torn to pieces? I mean, maybe that workmanship is the real crime, here? Maybe the king should have bought them better slippers?

These are not moral issues with this telling of the story, but rather issues with the original Grimm version, and, should you be a fan of the tale, this is a sweet one to add to your collection.

It didn’t seem to bother me when I was younger, and as such I feel I can’t judge it too especially given the time when it was written.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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