Written and Illustrated by Jane Ray
The Bean has started talking about princesses lately. His highest complement is to tell you you are a princess, and will often assert that he is a princess too. ("I a princesses, Mama!") It's very sweet.
Anyway, his fondness of princesses reminded me of this book that I bought years ago. I was in a little independent bookstore and saw it on their display. I picked it up to browse through and fell in love with both the illustrations and the story, so it came home with me!
The story is quite long and the language is more mature, so I'd be inclined to say it's better suited to a 4-7ish age range, but The Bean has still listened to it many times.
The illustrations are AMAZING. I wouldn't normally post photos from inside a book, but you have to see them...
Super-detailed illustrations mixed with photo collage. Gorgeous, right? Also the princesses (and other characters) in the story are dark-skinned, which is rare and quite nice to see.
And the story is beautiful too.
It's an original fairy tale about a kingdom which has lost it's queen and is falling to ruins. The king tasks his daughters with doing something to "make their mark" so that he can choose one of them as the successor to the throne. The two elder sisters both set out to build towers to reach the sky; but it is the youngest sister, quiet and unassuming, who uses a gift from her mother, a box full of magical items, to plan a tiny apple seed which grows along with other seeds to return the kingdom to it's former splendor.
The story emphasizes kindness, cooperation, care, perseverance, and hope. All lovely messages for our children. Wouldn't you agree?