Title: The Unruly Princess and other stories
Author: Damaris West
Review: To give a children’s book a good and thorough review, I felt it necessary to read it to my kids, ages 6, 3 1\2 and 20 months. My three year old daughter is a tomboy princess. She loves pink, princesses and anything girly but can roughhouse with her brother’s friends as well. My six year old son is a boy from head to toe. His life is cars, Legos and using his imagination.
I started by reading The Unruly Princess to my son and daughter. My son was off playing with his toys the second he heard the word “princess” but I was able to keep my three year old interested.
The Unruly Princess is about a young girl who is more of a tomboy than a princess. She get dirty, loves to throw rocks at the swans, shouts louder than most men and she refuses to do anything that most girls generally do her age. One day her cousin, a boy, comes to live with her family. He is a rough boy that loves to throw rocks at everything from animals to people. One day the princess decides she doesn’t like what she is seeing and decides to show him how to act. They both grow up and one day the King’s brother comes to get his son and finds him a changed man.
The story is simple, sweet and easy to read but I felt it not interesting enough for adults to enjoy while reading to their young children and the illustrations are below the standards I have seen in many other children's short stories and books.
There are six short stories in the book and out of the six the Unruly Princess in the most competent with its descriptive language.
The next short story, The Best Of The F.D. Lambert Collection. It is the story of a young boy who is given a display cabinet to take care of and inside he creates an exhibition using items he finds around his house or other items family members have given to him. I thought my six year old son would love this story but just as before he was uninterested and I found myself hoping something would happen with the cabinet but instead it was all about what the little boy collected and that was pretty much the story.
The next story, Lucy's Treat. The story is about a little girl named Lucy and how disappointed she becomes when weather prevents her from having the perfect day. Her parents come up with a brilliant idea and turn a closet into her own little space. That is the story. There is nothing extraordinary that happens or that is noteworthy. Nothing more than a simple story about a girl upset about a storm and her mom being there to save the day. The story gave did me a wonderful idea if we ever have a storm or terrible weather, but other than that, nothing more and nothing less than a simple if somewhat uninteresting story.
The next story, The Gift. It is about Rebecca a little girl who grew attached to a gift her grandfather gave her before he passed away. That gift being a stuffed kingfish. Rebecca's parents throw away the falling apart kingfish and Rebecca is so angry about what happened to the kingfish she runs away.
This journey is filled with terrible grammar, misused words and awful spelling. I tried hard to read it to my children but found myself confused by the poor grammar. For example in one passage the author writes, "She 1ived her despair, like a part in a play which occupied all her waking hours." Live should be spelled with an L not the number 1. Another example is as follows, "As well as Policemen abmonish. Parents are angry once their fright is over." That is how it is spelled and written in the book. The Gift is riddled with incomplete sentences, spelling errors and words that are not really even words. I couldn't finish this story because I couldn't understand it due to it being evidently poorly edited if edited at all.
The next story, The Talking Tree, which I personally enjoyed because it a story of life and appeals to adults as well. The story is about a boy named Michael, a lonely boy who was scolded by his mother again and he finds himself running into the woods only to trip over a tree root. Michael finds peace with the tree that tripped him, and is able to talk with the tree. In turn, the tree tells the young boy the stories of its life. This story is simple and sweet. The tree explains that it will die and come back to life many time but the boy will only die once. It is a simple story with a simple message that life gives and life takes away.
The last Story, Alfred, it is about a frog who wants a better life outside of his dull pond. However when into his dull life a girl comes to whisk him away, he realizes his dull life in the pond his actually where he desires to be most of all. Out of all the stories, I found that in this story, the author used a lot of descriptive language,which helped bring the story to life. However, the drawings were something I could find on my Word Program and nothing exciting to look at, even for kids. The author mentions Wellington boots several times throughout her stories and I found myself having to look up what the boots are used for. I wish the author would have referred to them as rain boots instead making it easier for a potentially younger reader. I am aware she is a British author but to reach out to American readers it has to have something they can reference. I only know about Wellington boots because Kate Middleton was mentioned wearing Wellington Boots in a news article at some point.
I gave these stories 2 out of 5 because of all the editing errors. There were too many to overlook and several times I was unable to even finish reading the story to my children because the writing was so poor.
Thanks go to Heidi for this review.
Publisher: Any Subject Books (July 3, 2012)
Pages: ebook - 59
Quick Review: 2 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Sent by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: The Unruly Princess & Other Stories is an anthology of six short stories aimed at children in the 4 to 12 age bracket with the idea being that older and more advanced children could read unaided and younger children be read to, especially at bedtime.
All the tales have a strong 'natural world' element and they are aimed at inspiring children to make their own investigations and to stimulate them to want to find out more where the stories leave off.
Author Biography: Damaris West (nee Damaris Naylor) has been writing almost for as long as she can remember, cutting her teeth on atmospheric poems and ferocious little stories about her own fictitious exploits.
Although her family home was in the heart of Cambridge, UK, hers was none-the-less a rural style of upbringing in which natural history was of immense importance. Of her immediate family, Damaris was the only non-scientist.
Damaris' first novel, 'Wild Goose', drew inspiration for its setting and details from her autobiography, and reflects her own struggle to break away from the family mould. Her third novel, 'Queen Anne's Lace', depicts the complex interrelationships of a family (not altogether dissimilar to her own) when their values and desires are brought into sharp relief following a change in circumstances. Her second novel, written in time wrested from the demands of running a tuition agency with her husband Clive, is one of fantasy.
Apart from novels, Damaris has written poetry, short stories and articles, some of them commercial.
She currently lives in Umbria, Italy, in a rebuilt farmhouse with her husband and three dogs, all Italian rescue puppies. She divides her time between writing and tending her garden which is in constant need of protection from the ebullient native plants and insects.