Perfect Picture Book Friday-Princess In Training

Princess in TrainingPrincess in Training

Written by Tammi Sauer

Illustrated by Joe Berger

Harcourt Children’s Books 2012

Ages 4-8

Themes: Princesses, Be Yourself/Individuality

Synopsis: (from Goodreads) Princess Viola is great at skateboarding and karate-chopping, but she’s lousy at the royal wave, walk, and waltz. The king and queen are not pleased. What’s a princess to do? Attend the skill-polishing Camp Princess, of course. In the end, it’s a good thing Viola is made of tougher stuff. Who else will save the day when the green dragon comes along?

Opening: Viola Louise Hassenfeffer was not an ordinary princess. She spent her time karate-chopping-HI-YAH!, diving into the moat-SPLASH!, and skateboarding up and down the drawbridge-ZIP! SUP! ZOOM! The kingdom was beside itself. “You’re supposed to be prim,” said the king. “You’re supposed to be proper,” said the queen. Princess Viola stared at her tiara. She was supposed to royally fit in. She wanted to! But how would she ever get this princess thing right?

Resources: Although I didn’t find resources on the Internet, I came up with a few.
1. As a writing activity, children could describe three things they would like to teach the other attendees if they were attending Princess Camp/Prince Camp.
2. As a second writing activity, have each student come up with their own idea for a camp, and, then, write a letter enticing others to attend. Use Madame Gertrude’s letter as a model.
3. Using Joe Berger’s cartoon-type illustrations as a example, have children make a drawing of themselves involved in a favorite hobby. Talk about onomatopoeia so that children can add some fun text to their drawing.

Why I Like This Book: Viola Louise Hassenfeffer!! Do I need to give you another reason?? Doesn’t that name just invite you to skateboard right to your library…karate-chop anyone who tries to grab the book before you…and, then, hurry home to dive right into the story??? Seriously, I fell in love with the feisty Viola and rooted for her throughout the story. The pacing is excellent and kept me turning pages. Berger’s cartoon style artwork is a perfect match for Viola’s personality.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.

26 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday-Princess In Training

  1. I noticed the chat about it over at MPBM. This is one you typed, isn’t it? Well, now I have to read it. I’ll have to buy it over at Amazon. Our library (bless its heart) has mostly OLD picture books. Three years to twenty years old. *sigh* I don’t want to wait two to three years to read this book. Then I’ll donate it to the library so others can read it too. Thanks Penny.
    P.S. The first time we had the horse race, Ivy won! We told her she COULDN’T win! Then we giggled and giggled. Ha. Thanks for watching it. 🙂


    • It is a good one, Robyn. Do you have Mostly Monsterly? To me the structure is very similar. Both are such great stories! She has the knack…that’s for sure!
      I feel so lucky that our library keeps up to date. And they will get things through inter-library load very quickly.I have asked them to purchase a couple of books recently, but haven’t heard if they’re going to.
      I imagine you all giggled a lot! How fun!


  2. YEAH! To the local library on my trusty scooter, (OK – I technically don’t have a scooter, but neither a skateboard… Or a pony named Benton 😉 ), go Miss Piggy on the people who have it on “hold” until they say I can read it – Got it! 😉


  3. This book sounds really terrific, Penny. I love the idea of a princess who doesn’t want to be princessy 🙂 And since we seem to have done nothing but talk about this book for 2 days, I guess I’m really going to have to read it! 🙂 Thanks for adding it to our list – looks like a great choice!


    • I have to say that I’m a sucker for any princess book as long as the story draws me in. But, I’m with you on the nontraditional ones…they are my favorite. I love a princess with spunk!


    • You’re right about that, Julie! Her name just fits her so well and it is used over and over again in the book. It had me laughing each time she got herself into a bind by being “nonprincessy” and Madame Gertrude would call her out by her entire name!!!
      Viola Louise Hassenfeffer!


  4. Couldn’t open your review on Susanna’s blog, so came to my reader. Boy, this sounds like great fun. I love a fiesty princess. Actually, I chuckled as I read your review. So much more realistic for kids today. Love your activities. This one is going to my granddaughter.


    • I hope that my link works now, Patricia. I posted it this morning but forgot to hit “Publish” on my blog :-0
      I kept wondering why no one had been by…LOL! Then I thought, “Uh-Oh! I didn’t publish my post!”
      I think your granddaughter will love this book!


  5. Whoa, Penny, I won’t stand in your way at the library….LOL. Sounds like a fun read. Do you remember that movie, King Ralph? Silly, I know, but it made me laugh. Love your suggested activities. Very creative.


    • Well, I wouldn’t really karate-chop anyone since I don’t know karate…but I might shove them! Ha!
      King Ralph is a hilarious movie! I hadn’t thought about it in years. I loved it 🙂


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