Review: LA PRINCESA AND THE PEA / by Susan Middleton Elya

La Princesa and the Pea, / by Susan Middleton Elya
G. P. Putnam’s Sons .    ISBN 9780399251566
Preschool-2nd Grade     Rating:     5

Susan Middleton Elya pens a delightful retelling of classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. Beautifully illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal , this bilingual picture book won the 2018 Pura Belpre Medal for Illustration.

In La Princesa and the Pea, the lonely prince finds the princess he thinks is perfect for him when she visits the castle and he wants to marry her. His mother, the queen, has a different opinion, as she often does. She has a secret test to see if the girl is indeed a royal princess and worthy of her son – and fit to be queen one day! The queen places a very small pea under twenty mattresses before the princess goes to bed. The prince has his own plan to make sure his future bride passes the test. But will the princess have a good night’s sleep or pass the pea-under-the-mattress test?

Author Susan Middleton Elya and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal team up to present a charming retelling of a classic story with a Latina twist. The vibrant illustrations – done with acrylics, colored pencils, and graphite – mirror Peruvian artwork and are so enchanting that they won the Pura Belpre Medal. The vibrant artwork is inspired by indigenous Peruvians, and beautifully executed in the facial expressions of the queen, the prince, her cat, and even the print of the mattresses!

The book incorporates Spanish words in its rhymes and rhythm, and includes a glossary for the reader. Not only are the illustrations breathtaking, but the lyrical rhyming couplets in Spanish and English add to the pleasure of reading and re-reading the book over and over again.

Recommended for school and public libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer

–reprinted by Christian Library Journal, 2018.

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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