Review of The Princess and the Pit Stop

The Princess and the Pit Stop
by Tom Angleberger; illus. by Dan Santat
Preschool, Primary    Abrams    48 pp.
7/18    978-1-4197-2848-8    $16.99

With one lap to go in this fast-paced mashup of fairy tale and auto race, the Princess finds herself in last place after a pit stop. Undaunted, she once again takes off around the track. The Frog Prince provides commentary (“She passed Humpty Dumpty! She passed all the King’s Horses! She passed all the King’s Men!”) while the Princess hurtles on, leaving a trail of rainbow exhaust in her wake. She passes a litany of favorite characters from fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and classic books like The Wizard of Oz and The Tale of Peter Rabbit in amusing (if repetitive) ways. The vibrant art works well with the text to create fairy-tale gags on every page, including the endpapers, while full-bleed pages of bold lines and dramatic layouts play up tension and movement. With only the two Ugly Stepsisters left to pass, the Princess makes her final move (“When they got scared and hit the brakes…‘The Princess just stepped on the gas!’”) to win. She invites everybody to a post-race ball at the castle, where before any happily-ever-afters can be declared she grabs the Frog Prince to compete in a dance contest. This speedy freshening up of classic characters from children’s literature honors the power of confidence and determination and puts the Princess in the driver’s seat.

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards.
Julie Roach
Julie Roach

Julie Roach, chair of the 2020 Caldecott Committee, manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

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