Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose
By Nancy Gow
Illustrated by Stephen Costanza
Sterling - Children's (ages 4-7)
There once was a princess so lovely and fair
with ruby red lips and a mane of brown hair.
Her voice was like honey, her smile soft and sweet . . .
but the beautiful princess had gigantic feet.
So begins Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose. As you might imagine, the prince has his own flaw:
Now far, far away in our fanciful yarn,
there lived a young prince with a nose like a barn.
The prince loved to laugh.
He was bright like the sun.
He was warm, he was kind,
he was charming and fun.
But, of course when they saw him, the maidens would run. <---I wrote that; it just happened to rhyme. Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose is one of my absolute favorites of the children's books I've read in 2011 -- and I've read quite a few. The illustrations are kind of dreamy and yet they're also bold, bursting with color. But, it's the story that I truly love. Of course, you know they'll end up together, but the way the story is told is so sweet and funny, the rhythm perfect and the characters so lovable that you really, really, really care about them in spite of the fact that they're characters in a very short children's picture book. They also just happen to have very wise parents, so the book has an upbeat, positive message -- it's not just the romance.
But still there was hope, for the prince had a dad
who was clever and wise. He would say to him, "Lad,
my father would sing me a rhyme every night
just before he would kiss me and turn out the light:
I am what I am and that's all right with me.
I don't have to be different. I just have to be.
I don't want to be somebody else. No sir-ree!
I am what I am and that's all right with me."
Isn't that wonderful? The prince and princess meet while skiing -- he with his nose completely covered and she with her feet so big they merely look like skis. And, then, after they fall for each other they reveal their secrets.
He stared at her toes. She stared at his nose.
They laughed and they giggled, and then he proposed.
I love it!!! Highly, highly recommended. Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose is a wonderful tale with a lovely message. Fun, dreamy illustrations and even some laughs make this book a winner, a wonder, a thing to put under . . . your tree, that is. Since it's Christmas season, I'll just tell you: Buy this one for the little girl on your Christmas list and then come back and tell me whether or not she loves it as much as I did. Okay? Go forth and shop.