Part of a continuing line of early reader books about "the princess twins," The Princess Twins and Play in the Garden by Mona Hodgson is a great little story for any child who tends to dislike getting messy.
This "I Can Read!" Level 1 story centers around Emma, a rather prissy little princess who thinks it's vital to stay clean and beautiful. She screams when a ladybug lands on her dress and lets her sister Abby have all the fun during a playdate with two peasant girls. While they ride the pony, make sand castles, and play soccer, Emma sits to one side. "I don't want to get dirty," she says. "A princess must look pretty."
When one of the little peasant girls accidentally kicks the muddy ball straight into Emma's dress, Emma is upset at first. When the little girl apologizes with tears in her eyes, however, Emma hugs her and finally decides to join in on the game. When the peasant girls' mother comes to fetch her children, she calls Emma and Abby "lovely girls." Just then, a ladybug lands on Emma's dress...and she smiles. "Thank you, God, for a lovely day," she says.
What I Like: This is a simple story any girl can relate to, even if she's more of a tom-boy than a prissy princess. The illustrations by Meredith Johnson are in her typical style (Johnson also illustrates the popular "Gigi" books) and show whimsy on every page.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4 - 8.
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2009; ISBN: 031071608X; paperback; $3.99
Special Info: Read our other reviews of books by Mona Hodgson and Meredith Johnson. Visit Hodgson's website for information about her girl's retreats. Visit Johnson's website for a peek at her illustrative style and obtain information about school visits.