This book really made me smile. I thought it was quite delightful. It’s about the very sassy, bright and kind Princess Peony who seems to be the odd one out in her royal family of selfish sisters, a rather vague+vacuous mum and as she discovers a tyrant of a father.
When her find out her Governess is called Miss. Beef I think we probably have a fair idea about Peony’s lack of lovliness in her life.
For obvious reasons I have a favourite quote where Peony is excited becuase her governess is allowing the princesses to go to the library-none of Peony’s sisters are impressed but she is and manages to find a book about pies (hence the title). For various reasons Peony has the book for a long time but when she finally returns it she reveals what her governess thinks about libraries:
“She says reading gives people ideas, and no princess wants those.”
Thank goodness Peony uses her brain in this story and disobeys Miss. Beef. She has to foil a plot to stop a wicked witch who hasn’t been invited to her baby brother’s christening, she strives to put right the wrongs of her despotic father who likes putting everybody in the dungeons including the poor librarian and generally sprinkles generosity, humour and intelligence where she goes. It is a treat of a read as the characters are great fun and Marta Kissi’s illustrations add to the spirit.
There are many nods to fairytales – I think older children would like this book too as it is multi layered. There are hidden thoughts about what it is to be a girl, to be a royal, to not conform, to want to learn and not be fickle. There are recognisable characters from many fairytales too-this would be a lovely way in to a fairy tale theme in KS2 as it’s got so much potential for multi directions.
It’s a very funny charming read and I’d recommend it to brighten your day.