Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose Review

Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose
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The inside flap of the dust jacket declares that "Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose" is "[f]illed with whimsical surprises and lush illustrations...." I whole-heartedly agree with the description of the illustrations as "lush", but there really isn't anything surprising in the book. It is a sweet tale of romance between two young people who don't fit the conventional image of royal perfection, yet who are nonetheless pure of heart and deserving of a love which sees through the superficial.
Like most fairytales, this book holds A Message, which Message is rather more bluntly presented (and sweetly uplifting) than usual: it is what is on the inside that counts. Nonetheless, the Message is presented in a child-friendly way that kids will find enjoyable rather than preachy. Kids will likely giggle at the Princess's enormous feet and the Prince's honking schnozz, but they will also sympathize with them for being laughed at by others. That the two should get together is the most natural and obvious thing in the world and kids will cheer for the happy ending.
Nancy Gow's metered rhymes get somewhat grating to the adult ear, but they are appropriate for the light-hearted fairytale setting. The story is richly complemented by Stephen Costanza's brilliantly colored yet soft and gentle illustrations. All-in-all a charming "happily ever after" to brighten up a gloomy world.

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