Written by Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Joe Berger
Harcourt Children’s Books 2012
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.