I received an advance review copy of A Friend For Princess Ada for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Please note that there is a spoiler alert in place for this review (for all my reviews, to be honest). A Friend For Princess Ada is a children’s book written by Emilee Moore and illustrated by Kim Soderberg.
The story of A Friend For Princess Ada
A Friend For Princess Ada is a wonderful story about a little girl who seeks a friend with whom to play daily. The villagers bring her different choices but they just “won’t do”. Will she find the perfect companion. This is a delectable simple story to be enjoyed by every kid aged 3 to well 8, although it might really be more for the youngest bracket of the range. The illustration are nice although at times, they feel incomplete: for example the castle in the first pages of the story, looks more like a wall for a park than for a lived-in space. In spite of that, they are visibly agreeable and fit for their target audience. The layout, language and paragraphs are well spaced allowing the child to take on the journey with fun and pleasure. I also like the way kids can discover an animal at a time, through the presentation by the villagers, the moments that princess Ada shares with them and her final decision.
Some missed opportunites
I do wish there was more to the villagers presentation. A simple sentence could have explained why they chose a particular animal each time. At the beginning even, there could have been a sentence where they decide why an animal would be the type of friend they sought for the child rather than a person. It would have been really fun to see how they progressively add to the criteria to meet the princess’s need for an ideal friend: from chosing that it should be an animal not a person to the right one. I also think they need not be disappointed as much as excited at the detective work they were doing to find that right pal. I asked myself from the outset: why a seal first? Is it where they leave, something the princess said or just for the sake of the plot? A quick premise would have made the flow more seamless and clued the reader in.
Finally, I wish Princess Ada stated her reasons before she stated “this [insert animal] will never do”. This is important in the way children speak and perceive behaviour. It shows respect to the people who are working for her. Rather than starting with a negative comment which might very well explain why the villagers are disappointed, she should have started with complementing them in effect as she kind of those later rather than sooner. Especially as a princess, she should have started by acknowledging their work, the advantages of her choices and then only state why it was still wanting. For example, she could say: “Thank you for finding a friend with just the right size, etc.”. By not fdoing this, she shows an attitude that requires its own story to correct.
All the elements are there. I would have just tweaked some of the order and some of the sentences. I do believe that the child could have been any child without some of the extra qualities of a princess such as the one mentioned above. Making her a princess might explain the decree but should show the decorum alongside rather than almost making her sound just whimsical. I am not convinced about the choice of a lion following the monkey or as a choice at all, whether for a child or around the other animals. I wish the page that showed the animals considered had a sentence about each of them including the lion and why he was not chosen in the first place, e.g., “The lion had a soft fur but was too dangerous”, “The snake…” and so on.
In spite of all that, A Friend For Princess Ada is all in all a delightable little tale to be enjoyed by small children. It will teach them about different animals. But it had the potential for much more in such a few sentences and lovely pictures.
7 out of 10 well done