Invitations are sent again. This time everyone wants to come! On the day of the party village children arrive, arms laden with gifts from the heart. Some have hand-painted items or homemade goodies; others bring wildflower bouquets. Then Joy has another idea. When her father and sisters bring their gifts into the room, Joy decides to give all of her fancy gifts to her guests instead. It becomes "the grandest birthday part of all time!"
The book closes with a personal note from Princess Joy to the readers. She explains that while things don't always happen the way we plan, sometimes that brings the best blessings. In this story she learned to serve others instead of feeling sorry for herself. Joy then explains that this reminds her of a true story her father reads to her from the Bible. The next page provides Luke 14:12--14 quoted from the New International Reader's Version (NIrV).
Illustrated by Omar Aranda, the book features computer generated images saturated with color. As expected, the princess are beautifully adorned with ballgowns, tiaras and lots of feminine features; all characteristics that instantly appeal to most girls within the target age range.
What I Like: My daughter (6 years old) really likes this book! It's a sweet story that puts flesh on the teachings highlighted. I appreciate Joy's note at the back and the inclusion of Scripture. These two features together make the story personal and applicable to readers. Well done.
What I Dislike: At first glance, this book feels like another instance of marketing people capitalizing on a cultural craze, trying to "Christianize" it for a profit. The authors made a valiant effort to keep the story distinct from popular Disney themes, but the illustrations, while of excellent quality, draw me right back to my initial skepticism. It seems to lack originality.
Overall Rating: Because my daughter likes it so much and because it is solidly based on truth, I do recommend it. Therefore: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 4-7
Publisher Info: ZonderKidz, 2011; ISBN: 031071639X; Hardback; 32 pages; $12.99
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Special Info: If you like this, you may also like Princess Grace and the Little Lost Kitten, a second book in the series.