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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Big Princess (The)
by Taro Miura
Age Range: Under_5
The Big Princess, although the prequel to The Tiny King by Japanese author and illustrator Taro Mairo, it is the second book to be published in English by Walker Books.
In a land far away live a King and Queen. They have no children of their own, but they do have a beautiful garden. One night the king has a dream in which a white bird tells him he will find a child among the flowers in his garden the next morning, but the bird also warns him that unless he can break the spell the princess is under she will not become their true daughter and catastrophe will befall his kingdom.
As the dream predicted the king finds a tiny princess on a leaf in his garden. He takes her to the Queen who is over-joyed. The princess is so tiny that the Queen must find her somewhere to sleep so she places the princess on a feather in her hair. The next day the princess has grown bigger and she continues to grow at an alarming rate every day. Her bed goes from a feather to a teacup, a ring box, to a teddy bear and then to a child’s bed. However, the princess just gets bigger and bigger until disaster threatens. Somehow the king has to find a way to break the spell and fast!
Mairo’s story has all the traditional qualities of a fairy story but with a modern twist that has a surprise at the end. The illustrations use perspective and colour to provide humour, particularly of the princess as she gets bigger every day or the graph and photograph demonstrating her growth with a tape measure stretching down the side of the page. This tall format book with lift the flaps, simple geometric shapes in primary colours and a fold-out page that shows the princess sprouting out of the tower is truly engaging.