Monday, February 21, 2011

Where the Jewels Are

"How do you say 'no' to a Princess who has everything and wants more? This Princess has a wise Father who sends her on a journey to find the one thing she doesn't know she's missing ..."

Where the Jewels Are is the first of ten books in the "Tales from the Throne" series by Diana Symons. It introduces readers to a princess and her servant Winifred. The two girls are about the same age and once were great friends, but as the princess grew, she acquired a sense of superior entitlement, relegating her dear friend to the shadows of servanthood. When the princess spots a glorious star through a powerful telescope, she desires to have a jewel just as beautiful. When she asks her father for such a jewel, he says she may have it, but only if she gets it herself. This will require a long, difficult journey to a strange country. The king insists that Winifred accompany her on the trip. The princess balks at his proclamation, but finally agrees.

As the two girls travel, the princess learns much about her own pride and selfish nature. She slowly learns to value the wisdom and humility of her simple friend. Throughout the journey the princess discovers she doesn't need a spectacular jewel because she already possesses the greatest treasure of all: friendship.

The book ends with a short Q&A section that encourages readers to think more deeply about the themes and lessons within the text.

What I Like: My daughter really likes this book. It's one of the first chapter books she has completed entirely on her own. Anything that gets my kids to love reading is a "top pick" in my house! The chapters are short, but filled with wonderful details and a stretching vocabulary. I love the illustrations. There aren't many and they are black and white, but they exhibit true skill and detail. Very well done.

What I Dislike: This book doesn't follow the standard rules of capitalization. The author consistently capitalizes "princess," "father" and "king" as if these were the characters' given names or as if this were an allegory and these terms referred to deity, which it isn't and they don't. This bothers me because (1) it's distracting and (2) it sets a poor example for emerging readers (like my daughter) who are still learning the proper rules of writing, capitalization and sentence structure.

Also, while I appreciate the Q&A section at the back, I wish the author hadn't supplied all the answers so freely and specifically. I would have liked a little more space for the readers to speculate and come to their own conclusions.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 7-12, though my 6-year-old enjoyed it immensely. I would say 6-10 depending on the child's personal reading skills and maturity.

Publisher Info: Gold Pen Press, 2010; ISBN: 1934995029; Paperback; 54 pages; $5.99

Buy it Now at for $5.49!

OR Buy it at for $5.99.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: