Princess Primrose by Alex T Smith

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“‘Something must be done about Primrose,’ sighed the Queen one day. ‘She simply can’t carry on like this. She is a princess after all and she must learn to behave like one.'”

Fellow ex-Bablake alum and kids’ lit genius Alex T Smith has cheered up my day no end. The reason: a new edition of picture book Princess Primrose for 2017. Hurrah from me on behalf of all young readers everywhere!

Princess Primrose

Poor Princess Primrose finds life in the royal household rather boring. That’s no surprise: she’s always being told how a princess should behave and funnily enough its always the opposite of how she is behaving…

Being a princess means

  • No climbing trees
  • No dressing up as a monkey
  • No digging up muddy vegetables

amongst other things.

I can sense your outrage. It’s not right is it?

The adults of the royal household and young Princess Primrose reach a sort of impasse. This is a shame as I can see from their marvellous pink castle that they weren’t always strangers to fun.

There’s only one thing for it: HRH Grandmamma is called. She’s one heck of a woman, with the wisdom of her years and an understanding of the important things in life. You will love her. If you are a grandparent, I strongly suggest immediately gifting this book to the little tearaways in your life; you are well represented here.

The illustrations sing from the page and will bring a big smile to your face. On first glance, it’s the colour and the changing composition that draws the readers’ attention, but it’s the detail within that makes Princess Primrose all the more special. Each member of the cast of characters has their own perceivable personality. I particularly like the butler who has a striped tail coat and a withering look.

A fantastic book that’s full of fun, life and occasional interesting background topiary. More than brilliant.

 

Thank you to Scholastic for sending me this edition.

 

 

 

 


Have You Got it on Vinyl? The Kite Who Was Scared of Heights by Simon Williams

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The Kite Who Was Scared of Heights by Simon Williams and Antonio Papaleo

kite heights

The Book and Some Owls

Sticky Floors

Well this is all very exciting, although I’m fashionably late to the party as the book was released back in the middle of 2014. For those of you grown ups who spent the nineties doc marten’d, floppy fringed and moodily hanging around in sticky floored underground indie hovels, this might just be exciting for you too: The Kite Who Was Scared of Heights is written by ex-NME journalist (when it was EVERYTHING) and Fierce Panda record label founder Simon Williams, champion of such top banana bands as Embrace, Ash, Gorky’s, The Bluetones, Kenicke, Keane and Death Cab for Cutie to mention but a few. Fierce Panda were also the indie label that first brought Coldplay to our attention, I guess hence  Chris Martin’s dubious endorsement on the back cover. Remember, Coldplay were good back then though so we’ll say no more about it.

Steve Lamacq Performance Poetry

This crossover of an NME journalist writing for children is almost as thrilling for me as when Stuart Maconie turns up at our local picnic in the park every year. I hope it prompts more diversification, ideally Steve Lamacq performing poems in our local libraries. That would be nice.

The Kite Who Was Scared of Heights is fairly self-explanatory. Said kite expresses a fear of heights and following this meets other lovely things that used to have a fear they have since overcome: for example a boat that used to be too scared to float and a car that used to be scared to go far. It’s written in rhyming couplets with some speech which makes it fun to read out loud; the pictures by Antonio Papaleo are great, really bright and friendly with lots of big eyes and a strong feel of movement.

kite innner

Ultimately we find out that the best way to overcome your fear is to be very brave and that thinking about others first helps enormously. I like the message, but most of all I like the kite, who could teach me a thing or two about dealing with acrophobia.

More Pandas

I used to know Simon back in the early to mid nineties, but having not seen him for (blimey) nearly twenty years, I have no idea what he’s been up to since. Saying that, it’s no surprise that Simon has successfully turned his hand to writing for kids, as his reviews and interviews at the NME were always a bit off the wall, well peppered with Milliganesque snippets and a healthy amount of panda referencing. I think his style sits well with this genre and hopefully there’s more to come.

As a previous appreciator of Simon’s writing, I’d like to see even more silliness introduced to the text, more pandas and possibly a sprinkling of made-up words. I’m sure it would be good if he got out there and did some school visits to further spread the message as I think he’d be great. Even better, release it with a 7″ vinyl accompanying disc with words and backing track. Perfect!

A top read for all grown-up indie kids and their kids, from three years plus.

(And for those of us who like to keep our feet on the ground, here’s what I’m sure is a Fierce Panda approved tune:)