BOOK REVIEW: You Can’t Eat a Princess by Gillian Rogerson, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
When King Cupcake is captured by hungry aliens, can feisty Princess Spaghetti save him? Only by showing those naughty aliens something even tastier than people…
This book is full of bold colours, the image are cute and engaging, and it’s about a girl saving the day, but that’s about all it has going for it.
The princess is getting ready for her birthday, making sure she has many chocolate treats; chocolate spread sandwiches, extra thick chocolate milkshake, and an enormous chocolate birthday cake. But then she discovers her father is missing, and the aliens who took him left a ransom note.
All the guards are doing other things, like knitting a jumper for a teddy and curling their hair, so the princess goes herself. She takes the royal rocket and, when it begins to spin out of control, she lands on the nearest planet, which just happens to be where the aliens live who stole her father.
When she finds her father, she saves him by throwing a tantrum and demanding, as only a princess can, that the aliens let him go.
It is only after she saves her father that the princess introduces the aliens to chocolate, so they never need eat people again.
There are so many things about this book that just don’t work.
- For starters it doesn’t really have a point or a message. It tries to lean towards talking about girls saving the day, but the way in which she saves her father renders the point moot.
- Chocolate is not a balanced diet, in fact it’s not even considered part of a balanced diet, and yet the story would have readers believe that it’s not proper food without something chocolate involved.
- Why is he King Cupcake? Why is she Princess Spaghetti? They don’t look like either of these foods, though the princess’s hair does resemble spaghetti, and it may be pedantic to wonder… but how does one get spaghetti from a cupcake? It would make more sense if all of their names were related to sweet foods, especially given her love of chocolate.
- At points throughout the book there are sentences that can be missed at first glance, lost among the jumble of images on the page.
This might be a good one for kids who like pretending to be princesses, and fans of chocolate or aliens, but overall it seemed to be a whole bunch of randomness thrown into a vague story outline.
The London Evening Standard has been cited as calling this “Reassuringly silly”, and perhaps this is true for some reason. Silly, for sure, but I’m not sure how something can be “reassuringly” silly, and perhaps that just means this book is not for me. I won’t be going out of my way to find more titles by the same author, but if they cross my path I will definitely give them a chance.
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