Nette Hilton (text), and Lucinda Gifford (illustrator), The Second Adventures of Princess Peony: In Which She Doesn’t Want a Prince, But Gets One Anyway. But Not for Keeps, Walker Books, July 2019, 76 pp., RRP $19.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760650452
Peony is a Princess who lives with a dragon (her dog Totts), Prince Morgan the Troll (her brother), the Queen (her mum) and the King (her dad). One day while waiting in the Palace gardens (the backyard) for a prince to come along, she is challenged by the Troll to make a prince appear by kissing a frog. A frog hunt and much hilarity ensues, and the outcome is not what either Peony or Morgan were expecting.
Here is a book suitable for newly independent readers, with short chunks of large text, different fonts and lots of illustrations. It is not necessary to have read the first book in this series to enjoy this one, the story stands on its own. There is a double narrative here, where the words tell the story of a Princess and a Troll, and the illustrations show a story of a girl with a strong imagination, her Scotty dog and her brother. The illustrations are black and white with pops of magenta, suitable for a princess. They are done in a cartoonish style, which matches the humour and the style of the story.
This book is suitable for lower to middle primary, and due to the title and the cover will have more appeal for girls than boys, though parts of the story would be enjoyed by both.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble