An “Uplifting” Tale

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Princess HyacinthI discovered a delightful book today.  I knew that the illustrator Lane Smith had collaborated on a princess story with Frances Parry Heide, but finally looked at it it today.  I was poking around Buttonwood Books and Toys in Cohasset and, to my delight, saw Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated in a stand-alone display case.  I’ve always been a Lane Smith fan so I sat right down on the floor and read the story.  What fun!  Such an original and whimsical little tale!

On another note, Happy 20th Birthday to Buttonwood Books and Toys.   I have been a customer for nearly all of those years and have enjoyed every recommendation and conversation along the way.  Thanks for staying with us during these challenging times for independent bookstores!


The Duchess of Whimsy

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51-IcfezaoL._SL500_AA240_I closed the book and got to my computer as fast as I could.  My goal was to let you know about  The Duchess of Whimsy by Randall de Seve as soon as I could and to encourage you to get this book. In fact, if you are looking for a good picture book for holiday giving—this is it.

Let’s back up.  Earlier this fall, I heard that Peter de Seve, one of my favorite cover artists of The New Yorker was illustrating a book by his wife, Randall.  On that basis alone, I ordered the book.  I know—it could be considered a flimsy reason to purchase a book sight unseen.  But this time, the gamble more than paid off.  What a delightful story—and it even has a moral to it, but not one that bangs the reader over the head!

The text and illustrations work beautifully together and even include a few fun jokes for the careful observer.  My guess is that the two fairies that appear throughout the book are the de Seve daughters.  They mention the two of them in the author’s bio and they are so lovingly drawn that it leaves little question about their identity.

There are so many children who ask for stories about royalty and princesses, but many of them are just pink pages that reinforce the whole Disney idea of princess-dom.  This is the one you want to give your little royalty watcher!  And to any other child (or adult) who appreciates a good story which reminds us that the world would be quite dull if everyone were the same.