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"A smaller percentage of 17 year olds saw adults reading in their homes in 1999 than in 1984."
Summary: By all accounts, the small kingdom of Astara was a prosperous one. The people defined success by one's outer beauty and wealth. Princess Nada, however, didn't meet these standards. Citizens laughed because she talked to animals; some said she wasn't pretty. Only Faruq, the gardener, understood her spirit and true beauty. One day, Nada saw enemy ships approaching, and she told her father. He didn't believe her, so she asked her bird friends to sound the alarm. No one would listen. With the help of Jabr, her parrot, they escaped to the kingdom of the Snow King and Snow Queen. How could they help? This picture book offers a fairy-tale setting for a story about compassion, ignorance, and greed.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 3.9
Age of Child: Read by students at Menchville High School as part of our Use Your ABCs program.
Young Reader Reaction: I like fairy tales, and it has a happy ending. The pictures were colorful. The cover reminded me of a Disney movie.
Adult Reader Reaction: This was a surprise. I expected yet another take on the commoner-falls-in-love-the-princess theme, but it wasn't. Faruq merely plays the role of a person (v. an animal) who believes Nada, he is not the Prince Charming that we are used to in the Disney Princesses stories. The illustrations and page detail lend a lot to the story.
Pros: This is a refreshing story. The illustrations are wonderful and the "princess" element is actually pretty muted.
Cons: This is a story that started as an orchestral piece. It would be nice to have an audio CD as part of the standard book to truly lend drama to the imagery conveyed in the story and illustrations.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a nice story and the illustrations are beautiful. It does not, however, offer characters of such depth and interest that you'll want them around forever.
Educational Themes: It might take some creativity, but there are plenty of things to share in this book...not the least of which is dispel the "Disney Princess" version of princesses. There are themes of friendship, respect (for people, plants, animals), kindness, being true to one's self, compassion, integrity, to name a few.