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Picture Book Review: Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater

[2013 Update: (see original review below)

Now that this book is age-appropriate for my daughter (she’s now almost 4) she loves this book! My minor quibbles about the book are now gone. Clearly, she was just a little bit too young last year. She now understands most of the puns and laughs out loud about the silly noses. Very cute.]

When I received an email from this author asking me to review her latest picture book, I was thrilled. I loved Sea Serpent and Me, which had been a baby shower gift from a good friend of mine (thank you, P!). The ending makes me tear up every time. So cute. While this story doesn’t feature a cute little girl and her sea serpent, it does feature a spunky princess and a creepy garden.

Dangerously Ever After is the story of Princess Amanita, a princess who wears blue and has a dangerous garden full of plants like stink lilies and grenapes (grenade + grapes = grenapes). When the Princess receives roses from Prince Florian and is enamored by their dangerous thorns, she requests some seeds for her garden. Unfortunately, instead of roses, she receives noses, and she must find her way to Prince Florian’s castle to give them back.

The story itself is cute and the illustrations have lots of fascinating details to look at. Princess Amanita is a great counterpoint to those Disney Princesses who my daughter is already starting to love.

Toddler Monkey’s reaction: She’s like Rapunzel! Me (inwardly groaning at Disney Princess reference): Why? Toddler Monkey: Because she wants to leave her castle! Me: Oh. Okay.

While I was happy to read a story with a spunky, independent princess (who also wore pretty and unusual dresses), I’m not sure my toddler was quite ready for this one. She was very puzzled about why Amanita would like dangerous things (“Why does she like thorns? I don’t like thorns!”) and I wasn’t sure how much explaining I wanted to do, not wanting to make dangerous things like “leaning out of the topmost turret of the castle” sound appealing to her toddler brain.

But I think this book will grow on her (gardening pun intended) in a few years.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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