Tuesday 30 November 2010

Lilli-Pilli, The Frog Princess

Lilli-Pilli, The Frog Princess by Vashti Farrer, illustrated by Owen Swan (Scholastic Press Australia) 
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74169-620-2
Reviewed by Felicity Pulman

The pastel line drawing of a joyful young girl leaping off the pink front cover on long frog legs is guaranteed to prompt a curious child to investigate further.  This is a delightful modern fairy tale of a young princess who cannot please her royal parents, Queen Euphorbia and King Nasturtium, or live up to their expectations because, unlike the other royal princesses, she has long frog legs that get in the way of everything she does.

The curving text on some pages perfectly illustrates the leaps and capers of her progress from acrobatics at the Royal Swimming Pool, through lessons on how to be a proper princess, to the dance floor of the Grand Ball where prospective suitors complain that she’s treading on their toes.

Princess Lilli-Pilli is rescued from ignominy by Prince Antirrhinum, star gymnast of the Royal Circus, who twirls and whirls her and throws her into the air, to the amazement and delight of everyone (except the Royal Dancing Master.)  The princess’s future happiness is assured, especially when she becomes the prince’s partner in the Royal Circus’s newest act: The Flying Antirrhinums.

Owen Swan’s delicate illustrations complement perfectly the quirky humour of Vashti Farrer’s text – doing ‘pullovers, back-flips and hip-back circles’ sounds like such fun!  Above all, this story gives a positive message to children that, even if you’re different in some way, even if you don’t fit in, it’s still possible to be happy and fulfilled because everyone has a special talent of some sort.
Felicity Pulman is the author of numerous award-winning novels for children and teenagers, including Ghost Boy, the Shalott trilogy and the Janna Mysteries.

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