From the award winning team of Ross and Willis, here is another royal minor who rocks the once peaceful palace with his naughtiness. With zippy action, colourful deftness and bold shadows, Tony Ross’s characters splash across the page so fast, we feel their pace in each energetic line; Willis’ clever words and situations will tickle readers young and old.
From the moment he is born nothing is good enough for the precocious little Prince Charmless. Like babies many have known, he is ornery and contrary, shrieking demands and complaints from the moment he is born. ‘I don’t want toast soldiers! I want toast sailors!’ ‘I don’t want those old donkeys, I want six white unicorns!’
With a nod to that other ghastly royal, the Red Queen, the overworked chauffeur paints the shining black stallions white and attaches walking stick horns to their heads, but of course it’s not good enough. Hilariously sending up parents who give in to their offsprings’ unreasonable demands, the parents and palace staff twist themselves into pretzels attempting to accommodate the little monster. Cleverly getting into the minds of children who are trying to make sense of the world and their place in it, Prince Charmless demonstrates that kids can have the power, if they’re loud and determined enough.
Thank goodness it has to stop. The palace workers pack their bags leaving the squalling Prince to his own devices. But hey ho, it’s all a big surprise as the slowing down brings unexpected pleasures to the little prince, who turns out to be charming after all.
At a time when government officials are telling us UK children are being too babied, and their imaginations stifled with too many organized activities, this book is a timely reminder to allow children the freedom to learn from their own mistakes.