Prince Drupert needs a true princess to be his bride. Princess Paulina knows the perfect candidate -- herself. But when Paulina arrives at Blom Castle, eleven other princesses are also vying for the job, and what an unusual group they are. The heated contest is on in this hilarious fractured fairy tale that takes a lighthearted look at the pros and cons of princessing as a career choice.
From Publishers Weekly
The latest of Mary Jane Auch's (Bantam of the Opera) fairy-tale parodies finds Paulina the Princess competing against her peers for the hand of Prince Drupert, the sorry-looking son of overbearing Queen Zelda. Paulina knows the old pea-in-the-mattress trick ("That's so once-upon-a-time," she scoffs to herself) and is unintimidated by the other two finalists, a princess with a very long braid and another princess accompanied by seven little men. But the kitchen assignment comes close to defeating her until, in despair, she whips up a mess of tomatoes, cheese and garlic on some bread dough, wowing Queen Zelda. In a gratifying final twist, Paulina rejects the prince and opens her own successful business a pizza parlor, of course. Readers will delight in the sly references to other fairy tales and in the goofy visuals (e.g., with a sardonic grin, a Rapunzel-like princess uses her very long braid to trip Paulina). The illustrations, representing the wife-and-husband team's first picture-book collaboration, resemble those in Mary Jane Auch's previous works they are just as witty yet considerably more detailed. This sassy send-up seems likely to deliver a royal case of the giggles. Ages 4-8.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-When Princess Paulina's father surrenders his kingship, the enterprising young lady sets off for a neighboring castle to marry Prince Drupert. Vying with other princesses, she sails through the traditional pea test, stays in the running after the glass-slipper fitting, but faces real difficulty in the third trial. Competing against two other princesses, Paulina finds herself left with some flour, yeast, water, tomatoes, cheese, and the threat of a beheading if she can't concoct a tempting feast. In haste and trepidation, she tosses the fruits of her culinary labor onto the hearth and-voil…-wins the everlasting admiration of the prince and the overbearing queen. Paulina, however, has other plans; she spurns marriage and opens the highly successful Pizza Palace. But the happy-ever-after ending has a hitch; Drupert's mother is a pizzeria regular and is last seen sharing a slice with Paulina's father. This fractured fairy tale has a thoroughly modern sensibility, from the retired monarch pursuing a second career in the arts to the feisty heroine who runs her own business. The story moves briskly along with plenty of tongue-in-cheek references to traditional tales, and the exaggerated features in the illustrations are reflected in the hyperbole of the text. In a clever bit of foreshadowing, Paulina's oft-repeated "for Pete's sake" becomes the etymological basis for the word pizza. One bothersome note: Paulina's diamond pendant disappears from the illustrations with distracting regularity. A silly take on kids' favorite takeout.
Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ