When she receives a mysterious crown for her birthday, Pistachio realizes that she is really an abducted princess. But this only makes her parents sigh, her friends laugh, and her baby sister Penny insist on "playing princess," too. When Pistachio's angry wish makes Penny disappear, she needs a princess's courage to get her back.
Pistachio has always known she was a princess. When a mysterious gift turns up on her birthday, she's sure it's only a matter of time before her real parents, the king and queen of Papua, arrive to take her away. In the meantime, though, she still has to eat her spinach and get up for school. Her friends still laugh when she wears her new gold crown to class.
And her annoying baby sister insists on "Pwaying pwincess," too. When Pistachio's angry wish makes Penny disappear, she will need the courage of a true princess to get her back.
Princess Pistachio was translated from French by Jacob Homel, the son of award-wining author and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay. As Pistachio and Penny learn, great things happen when family sticks together.
The arrival of a tiara in the mail is the tipping point in evidence for Pistachio Shoelace that she is really a princess--but no one seems to believe her.In five short and humorous chapters readers learn that Pistachio has long believed that a "ghastly witch, green with envy" stole her, the Papuan princess, and allowed her adoption by Mr. and Mrs. Shoelace of 23 Maple St. Pistachio attempts to dress and act the part of her ideal, pampered, "real princess"--but no one, including her mother, plays along. When she tries to avoid looking after her baby sister, Pistachio's mother only tells her that princesses "always obey their mothers, or they go without television for a week." And her best friend, Madeline, actually laughs at Pistachio's sudden, unexpected costume and behaviors. The skillful combination of text and illustrations addresses many serious concerns of early childhood--and even of parenthood--without straying from the book's tone of fun and frivolity. (Among the issues so adeptly addressed are adoption, sibling relationships, classmate rejection and a missing child.) The characters are pen-and-ink creations tinted with bright watercolors; Pistachio's russet braid and freckled face are reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking and the author's own Stella. Whimsical names (Pistachio's teacher is Mrs. Trumpethead) add to the fun. A playful and entertaining take on children's perennial questions surrounding ideas of personhood, family and community. (Early reader. 4-8)
Copyright 2014 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission.
Gay (the Stella and Sam books) introduces a mercurial heroine named Pistachio Shoelace in this early reader series launch. An anonymous birthday gift of a golden crown confirms the redheaded, freckle-faced girl's belief that she is actually a princess from an island kingdom, where she was showered with lavish presents--"silver skates, invisible kites, a parrot that spoke five languages"--until a jealous witch whisked her away to live with "adoptive parents." Pistachio's jubilation over "discovering" her regal origins gives way to outrage when her parents and friends refuse to appreciate her royal status ("My real mother would never deny me anything," Pistachio huffs). Worse still, her baby sister, Penny, insists she's a princess (or rather "pwincess"), too. Airy spot illustrations keep the comedy fresh, drolly portraying Pistachio's lofty airs, which result in not-infrequent rages when the world doesn't bend to her will. Gay gives full credence to Pistachio's volatile emotions--she often lashes out at her sister in ways that are uncomfortably believable--which makes the reconciliation between the girls feel a bit rushed as the story concludes. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 2--On her birthday, Pistachio Shoelace gets an unsigned card that says "Happy birthday, my little princess" and a golden crown. She has suspected her whole life that she is actually a princess, so she weaves a tale that she believes is the story of her royal heritage. At dinner, donning her princess dress and crown, she informs her family that "From this day forth, you shall call me Princess Pistachio." Unfortunately, her annoying little sister Penny wants to follow in her footsteps and decides she will be a princess, too. In this easy chapter book comprised of five short chapters, Pistachio realizes that her own family, friends, and teacher, and even the neighborhood boys don't really acknowledge her new status and some make fun of her. Readers will be empathetic to her struggles, especially when she wishes her sister away, and then has to find her. Young readers transitioning to chapter books will be enthralled by Pistachio and her big personality and imagination. The pen-and-ink illustrations are tinted with bright water colors and will help readers visualize the girl's antics. VERDICT A wonderful new offering from Gay to take her picture book readers to the next stage.--Nancy Jo Lambert, McSpedden Elementary Frisco, TXCopyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.