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The Duchess of Whimsy : an absolutely delicious fairy tale

by Randall de Sáeve


Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

K-Gr 2-The young Duchess of Whimsy is known far and wide as a person with esoteric tastes. Her parties are extravagant and she counts the most unusual people as her friends. Conversely, the Earl of Norm is as plain and ordinary as toast. He tries everything to impress the duchess, but she continues to find him lackluster. Nevertheless, her father wants her to cultivate the friendship so that their respective kingdoms may coexist peacefully. It is only when a crisis occurs on the night of one of her soirees that the duchess learns that ordinary may not be a bad word. This charming tale is playfully illustrated, portraying the duchess's world in crowded spreads that contrast with the earl's simple vignettes against a white background. The visuals tell the tale as vividly as the prose. This is a sure winner and a nice break from routine princess stories.-Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Despite its witty tongue-in-cheek tone and quirky and exuberant artwork, this love story about an earl and an unconventional duchess blurs the line between "ordinary" and "extraordinary." The narrator insists that the extravagant duchess of Whimsy is "the life of the party" while the earl of Norm is "as normal as they come." But the earl, whose Ichabod Crane body is shown dressed in courtly finery, seems as eccentric as the rest of the courtiers, who Peter de Seve gleefully depicts with exaggerated hairstyles and facial expressions and wearing oceans of fabric. He wears a jaunty feather in his tall, lopsided hat, and in an effort to impress the duchess, he presents her with a giraffe who tries to eat the foliage on the courtier's hats. He even composes "sugary poetry comparing the duchess to a squid, a platypus and a penguin." Nonetheless, she continues to pronounce him "too ordinary!" It's not until the earl of Norm shares his ordinary grilled cheese sandwich with the duchess that she wonders if she's misjudged him, and in the happily-ever-after end, they both find each other to be "simply extraordinary!" Ages 4-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Randall de Sève (Toy Boat, 2009) teams up with her husband, accomplished illustrator Peter de Sève (the New Yorker, Mulan, and Ice Age), to create this dreamy delight. The Duchess of Whimsy is charismatic, full of surprises, and magnetic. She throws lavish parties and invites her many friends, including the Duke of Dreams and the Shah of Huzzah. The Earl of Norm is her polar opposite, but he is sweet, good-natured, and willing to try anything to gain her affections: he recites mushy poetry, tries on absurd fashions, and brings a rambunctious giraffe to one of her parties. The duchess is not having it, so he gives up trying to be something he is not and winds up capturing her heart by exposing her to the simple delight of grilled-cheese sandwiches. Pages burst to life with rich colors whenever the duchess appears and then become comically dull whenever the earl shows up. With a romantic story and smooth art, this charming picture book will appeal to sophisticated young readers who will find the happily-ever-after whimsically ordinary.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2009 Booklist


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